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News Analysis
DIRECTV vs. The Weather Channel: One Big Snow Job!
By Swanni


Washington, D.C. (January 14, 2014) -
DIRECTV says it's not a big deal that it's lost The Weather Channel in a fee fight because subscribers have been complaining about the channel's increasing focus on reality TV programming.

"We have heard from an overwhelming majority of our customers that they want a weather service that's 24/7, not one that's preempted by reality programming," DIRECTV said in a statement a few days prior to today's blackout, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The satcaster said The Weather Channel's lineup now includes 40 percent reality and 60 percent live weather updates.

The Weather Channel says DIRECTV's "decision" to drop the channel this morning has endangered the public safety because viewers now will have difficulty getting updates on dangerous weather developments. The channel has even urged DIRECTV subscribers to contact Congress to pressure DIRECTV to put The Weather Channel back on the air.

"Given the increasing frequency and severity of weather-related emergencies across the country, access to timely and accurate weather information is imperative for public safety and, therefore, an issue meriting congressional attention," The Weather Channel has stated.

Please, cut the bull, guys.

Both positions are designed to deflect attention from the real reason that The Weather Channel is no longer on DIRECTV:


DIRECTV, which has been railing against rising programming costs, simply doesn't want to pay what The Weather Channel is demanding to carry it. If The Weather Channel would meet its price today -- this minute -- DIRECTV would gladly welcome the channel back on the air and not say a word about those so-called offensive reality TV shows.

Seriously, does anyone really think an "overwhelming majority" of its subscribers have contacted DIRECTV about The Weather Channel's reality TV shows? An overwhelming majority? DIRECTV has 20 million subscribers. That would mean about 15 million people have called or e-mailed DIRECTV with complaints about weather reality shows!  Come on, DIRECTV. We're not that dumb.

And if those 15 million people were that upset, wouldn't they contact The Weather Channel!?

And if The Weather Channel was so concerned about the public safety, it would allow DIRECTV to continue to air the channel while negotiations for a new agreement continued. However, because DIRECTV has not agreed to the channel's terms, The Weather Channel today withdrew permission from DIRECTV to carry it, which is its right.

Going further on the public safety argument, it's a ridiculous one. With the Internet, local channels, smart phones -- and a host of other methods -- DIRECTV viewers can get information about dangerous storms anytime -- and anywhere -- they want, including Weather Nation TV, which the satcaster has replaced The Weather Channel with on channel 362.

DIRECTV and The Weather Channel, play your games, if you must. But stop trying to manipulate people with phony arguments. You know it's about money -- and so do we.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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