The Weather Channel In Open Letter To DirecTV: You Really Oughta Waive Fees For Your Customers Who Want To Flee

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 9:09pm PST

Weather Channel DirecTVOn a day when a blizzard blanketed a large chunk of the country in snow and ice, there’s a new offensive in the carriage war between DirecTV and the Weather Channel. As the blackout continued during the whiteout, TWC has fired off an open letter to the satcaster’s board (read it here). The missive, signed by the Weather Company Chairman and CEO David Kenny, urges DirecTV to waive termination fees for customers who want to switch to a provider that carries the Weather Channel. “We have heard from viewers DirecTV Weather channelacross the country, like Heather in Texas who wrote, ‘We just signed on with DIRECTV.…Had I known this was going to happen I would NOT have signed up. I read the fine print (too late) and found that they can do that. It’s wrong.’” The letter, dated tomorrow, closes with a near-plea for expediency: “As our team of more than 220 expert meteorologists tracks winter storms, wildfires in Southern California, and many other potential weather emergencies, a prompt reply—not to me, but to your customers—would surely be appreciated.”

Related:
Weather Channel Pushing Public Safety Image After DirecTV Blackout
DirecTV Hits Back In Weather Channel Spat, Citing Customer Complaints

All this comes on the heels of the Weather Channel’s weekend session at TCA, when execs reiterated their claim that DirecTV’s blackout — which began January 14 at midnight ET.  is putting Americans at risk. The Q&A with TV critics was one day at Moody’s warned that the channel’s bond rating could suffer if the satcaster dispute continues. Read TWC’s press release that accompanied its letter to DirecTV below:
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It’s Over! DirecTV & Viacom Reach Carriage Agreement, Viacom Nets Restored

By | Friday July 20, 2012 @ 3:26am PDT

DirecTV’s 20M customers have their MTV – and 16 other Viacom channels – again. The companies said this morning that they’ve resolved their 10-day contract dispute, which took more channels from more consumers than any other fight so far between a pay TV distributor and programmer. That will come as a relief to DirecTV customers who are fans of channels including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and Spike. Investors also will be glad to see an end to what many feared could have become an extended black out that might trash both companies’ earnings. In addition, Hollywood moguls will be pleased: Several have told our Nikki Finke that they’ve found it hard to promote movies while Viacom’s youth-oriented channels have been dark in so many homes. Read More »

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DirecTV And Sunbeam Settle Boston And Miami TV Carriage Disputes

By | Thursday January 26, 2012 @ 3:10pm PST

DirecTV customers in the Boston area don’t have to worry about being unable to see their hometown team, the New England Patriots, play in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants. The program carriage dispute, which began on January 14 when Sunbeam took its stations off of … Read More »

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Last Minute Effort Fails To Save NFL And Golden Globe Telecasts For Some DirecTV Customers

By | Sunday January 15, 2012 @ 4:23pm PST

DirecTV’s sports fans in Miami already know the bad news, and showbiz devotees in Boston soon will: The satellite company failed to strike a carriage deal with Sunbeam Television prior to Fox’s broadcast of the NFL playoff game between the … Read More »

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Some Sports Fans Can’t Watch NFL Playoffs

By | Sunday January 15, 2012 @ 12:23am PST

Miami-area sports fans who are also DirecTV customers are having to scramble this weekend to catch football playoffs on Fox. That’s because Sunbeam Television, owner of Fox affiliate WSVN, pulled the plug on DirecTV at midnight Friday. It’s the latest showdown between providers over increases in carriage fees. Sunbeam yanked their station feeds to DirecTV when the satcaster balked at a 300% increase in fees for the right to carry local station signals. (And Time Warner Cable thought Madison Square Garden’s purported demand for a 53% increase was steep. That New York dispute is still unresolved.)

Unless a settlement is reached before this afternoon, DirecTV subscribers who haven’t secured an alternative will miss today’s highly anticipated playoff between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Yesterday’s NFC playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints had DirecTV subscribers converging on electronics stores such as Best Buy nearly emptying shelves of broadcast antennas so they wouldn’t miss football and other Fox programming. Others turned to sports bars, which apparently weren’t affected.

WSVN general manager Robert Leider said DirecTV’s offer was below fair-market value, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. DirecTV has about 270,000 subscribers who are affected in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Approximately 270,000 customers were affected in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Sunbeam also cut DirecTV feeds from Boston’s NBC affiliate WHDH and CW affiliate WLVI.

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Fox Takes DirecTV Carriage War To L.A. Times Sports Page

With a November 1 deadline looming, News Corp. today purchased a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times sports section warning DirecTV customers that the satcaster was poised to drop nine networks if Fox’s Read More »

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Fox Cable Networks May Go Dark On DirecTV On Nov. 1 Over Carriage Dispute

Nellie Andreeva

Another major carriage dispute threatens to pull Fox’s cable networks from DirecTV systems on November 1. The affected networks include FX (including its hit Sons Of Anarchy and hot newcomer American Horror Story), National Geographic Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Deportes, and the 19 Fox regional sports networks. Fox Networks’ previous carriage agreement with DirecTV expired on September 30. After extending the talks, no progress was made, leading to a standoff between the two sides that may lead to the blackout. Exactly a year ago, the same networks went dark on DirecTV’s rival satcaster Dish Network before the two sides finally reached a new agreement. Like in previous carriage fights, both sides released dueling statements and launched competing websites — KeepMyNets.com (Fox) and OurPromiseToYou.com (DirecTV). In its statement, DirecTV claims that Fox is seeking a 40% license-fee increase. Here are the two statements: Read More »

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Sinclair, TWC Reach ‘Agreement In Principle’

Nellie Andreeva

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UPDATE: Last-Minute Extension Agreement Between Comcast & DISH Keeps E! & Style

Nellie Andreeva

Hours before DISH Network’s carriage agreement with Comcast’s E! and Style was to to expire at midnight, threatening a blackout of the two cable networks on DISH, the two sides have agreed to a short-term extension. The deal is … Read More »

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Comcast’s E! and Style Face Blackout On Dish Network In Carriage Dispute

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: The countdown to New Year’s eve is on, and so are the countdowns to a couple of possible channel blackouts as a number of carriage agreements expire at midnight on Dec. 31. Comcast’s E! and Style just issued … Read More »

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AT&T & Scripps Networks Reach Agreement

Nellie Andreeva

After a three-day blackout of Scripps Networks’ cable networks, including HGTV and Food Network, on AT&T U-Verse, the two sides tonight reached a new distribution agreement. The five Scripps channels affected, HGTV, Food Network, DIY, Cooking Channel and Great American Country have been restored in 2.7 million AT&T U-verse … Read More »

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Scripps Networks Are Off AT&T U-Verse

Nellie Andreeva

Another week, another carriage dispute that escalated into channels being pulled from a cable/satellite system. This time, it is the Scripps Networks, including HGTV and Food Network, which went black on AT&T U-Verse at 1 AM. The same networks were also off Cablevision for 3 weeks at the beginning of the year as part of the two sides’ nasty carriage dispute. In the summer, AT&T U-Verse came close to losing AMC in a standoff with Rainbow Media but the companies reached a last-minute agreement, preventing a blackout. Here is AT&T’s release: Read More »

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War Is Over: Fox & Cablevision Reach Deal

Nellie Andreeva

After a two-week blackout, Fox signal was restored in some 3 million Cablevision homes just before the start of Game 3 of the World Series. Fox just announced that the two sides have reached “an agreement in principal for a … Read More »

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Dish Network, Fox Reach Carriage Deal

Nellie Andreeva

While it’s still fighting with Cablevision, Fox has settled its carriage dispute with Dish Network. It has signed a comprehensive deal for its broadcast network’s O&O stations as well as the cable channels that went dark on Oct. 1. (They have been restored today.) The Fox network signal was in jeopardy with the two sides’ previous deal expiring Sunday night. The agreement means Dish customers will have continued coverage of the World Series and the NFL unlike Cablevision subscribers who have been without Fox for 2 two weeks as the two sides have failed to agree on a new deal.

Los Angeles and Englewood, Colo. — DISH Network L.L.C., a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and Fox Networks, an operating unit of News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS), today announced a wide-ranging distribution agreement to provide the third-largest video distributor in the United States with continued access to programming from Fox Broadcasting and Fox local television stations in major cities. The agreement also included carriage of FX, National Geographic Channel, and Fox’s 19 regional sports networks, which were restored for DISH Network viewers Friday.

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Fox-Cablevision Carriage Spat Escalates With Cease And Desist Letter

Nellie Andreeva

In the latest salvo in Fox and Cablevision’s nasty carriage dispute that has led to the network’s blackout in 3 million Cablevision homes, Fox today served Cablevision with a cease and desist letter for what it described as “encouraging theft of copyrighted material.” Fox’s demand stems from news reports that Cablevision … Read More »

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Cablevision And Fox Spar Over ‘Good Faith’ Negotiation

Nellie Andreeva

Cablevision and Fox have until end of day today to file documents with the FCC proving that they have been negotiating in good faith in their carriage dispute that has kept Fox blacked out in 3 million Cablevision homes for the past 10 days. Cablevision has already sent its response, in which it defends its negotiating tactic, accuses Fox in bad faith negotiations and urges the FCC to intervene with the World Series coverage on Fox only 2 days away. Fox, which is yet to file, issued a statement blasting Cablevision’s accusations. Here are an excerpt from Cablevision’s FCC filing and Fox’s response: Read More »

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UPDATE: Cablevision-Fox War Of Words Intensifies As Political Pressure Mounts

Nellie Andreeva

Here is a brief recap of the events on Day 4 of the Fox blackout on Cablevision that has affected some 3 million  homes in the New York area.

All quiet on the actual negotiations front: “Fox and Cablevision held a short phone call today,” Fox said. “No material progress was made and we remain far apart. Both sides agreed to continue talking tomorrow.” But in the public space and in Washington, the spat created a storm, with more and more politicians weighing in. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) today sent FCC chairman Julius Genachowski a copy of legislation he is drafting, which would mandate that retrans disputes be taken to a third party arbitrator and would put enough safe guards to prevent network blackouts in such disputes. In turn, Genachowski today issued his most sternly-worded statement on the issue yet, in which he said he called the CEOs of the two companies and urged them to negotiate in good faith and reach a deal, though he stopped short of getting the FCC to intervene as some have asked. ”I am deeply troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending more time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists than sitting down at the negotiating table,” Genachowski said. “The time for petty gamesmanship is over.” Read More »

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UPDATE: Fox-Cablevision Carriage Spat Claims Baseball Game, Sides Still Far Apart

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE SUNDAY PM: After another session of talks today, Cablevision and Fox once again failed to make any “material progress” and remain far apart, according to a statement from Fox. Negotiations are scheduled to continue tomorrow. Meanwhile, the two sides continued their PR war with dueling statements. Cablevision once again pleaded for attention from Washington and pushed for binding arbitration: “The longer this shameful News Corp. blackout of the NFL and Major League Baseball continues, the more obvious it becomes to everyone, including political leaders of both parties, that binding arbitration is the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming to Cablevision customers,” the company said. Fox released an open letter to Cablevision subscribers from Lew Leone, GM of the two Fox stations affected by the blackout. Here is a portion of it:

We offered Cablevision the exact same price that other companies are paying for our stations. But for some reason, Cablevision thinks that it deserves special treatment.

Instead of negotiating like a responsible business, Cablevision decided to make this your problem in the hope that if they caused you, the viewer, enough inconvenience, then politicians would intervene. That is what Cablevision’s call for “arbitration” is all about.   But ask yourself – do you think Cablevision would be ok with someone else stepping in to decide the price you pay them for cable and broadband service?

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Web Is New Battleground In Carriage Fights

Nellie Andreeva

Roll Over Or Get Tough… I Have Choices… Fighting 4 You… All sound like campaign slogans. cable warsAnd they are, but not for a political race: they are slogans used by cable companies and networks in more and more public battles … Read More »

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