The Weather Channel Returns To DirecTV

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 11:41am PDT

Weather Channel DirecTVThe companies aren’t disclosing financial terms, but DirecTV appears to have won some major concessions, including an apology. The Weather Channel (to appear on channel 362) will cut its reality programming by half on weekdays. It also will return instant local weather and authorize DirecTV subscribers to stream its video programming to multiple devices inside and outside the home. And, in a really unusual twist, TWC chief David Kenny apologized to “DirecTV and their customers for the disruption of our service and for initiating direcTV__130523212608a public campaign. Our viewers deserve better than a public dispute, and we pledge to reward their loyalty with exceptional programming and more weather focused news.” DirecTV Chief Content Officer Dan York crowed that while the dispute was “frustrating for many of our customers … their patience was ultimately rewarded with a better deal and a better product.”

Related: TWC Pushing Public Safety Image After DirecTV Blackout

DirecTV dropped TWC on January 14. The channel wanted a penny increase in the price DirecTV pays for it. (It averages 13 cents per subscriber per month across pay TV systems, according to SNL Kagan data.) But DirecTV said it wanted to cut its outlays, noting that TWC too often offers reality programs such as Deadliest Space Weather and Coast Guard Alaska instead of the latest local weather. Last week DirecTV strengthened its bargaining position by reaching a multi-year agreement to offer WeatherNation (on channel 361).

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Time Warner Cable, DirecTV In Stalemate Over Dodgers Channel

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 12:29pm PDT

SportsNet LA logoDirecTV subscribers apparently will not be watching any Dodgers games in the near future. Talks have broken down with the satellite TV provider and Time Warner Cable, which handles distribution of the MLB team’s new SportsNet LA channel, according to TWC.

Maureen Huff, Time Warner Cable vice president of public relations, told Deadline, “We can confirm that DirecTV has left the negotiating table. We were advised by their negotiating team that they would not counter our last proposal and that conversations were at an end. We are eager for all consumers in the Dodgers footprint to have access to SNLA and we hope that other providers will come on board quickly so that the frustrated DirecTV consumers have alternative options throughout the region.  We will continue to work tirelessly to make that happen. And, in the event that DirecTV would like to re-engage discussions, we stand at the ready to do so 24×7″. Read More »

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MIPTV: DirecTV Acquires Australian Thriller ‘The Code’ Starring Lucy Lawless

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 1:52am PDT

the codeHeading into the Mip-TV market next week, the UK’s DCD Rights has sealed deals on six-part thriller The Code with DirecTV in the U.S., Sundance Channel Latin America and Denmark’s DR. Produced … Read More »

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Will DirecTV’s New Deal With WeatherNation Leave The Weather Channel In The Cold?

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 1:19pm PDT

WeatherNationThe Weather Channel doesn’t think so, even though the No. 1 satellite service dropped it on January 14.“We have resumed discussions with DirecTV and hope to resolve our differences,” says Weather Channel rep Shirley Powell. But DirecTV strengthened its bargaining position today by reaching a multi-year agreement to offer WeatherNation. The deal ensures our customers will have a service that is DirecTV Weather Channel Disputefully committed to providing all weather related information all the time,” DirecTV Chief Content Officer Dan York says. “The overwhelmingly positive comments we’ve been receiving from customers made the decision to extend our agreement easy and expedient.”

Related: TWC Pushing Public Safety Image After DirecTV Blackout

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DirecTV Orders First Original Comedy Series

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 11:57am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

DirecTV Weather channelDirecTV will be adapting Peter Ackerman‘s play Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight as its first original comedy series. The satcaster has given a 10-episode order to the project, which will start filming in May for … Read More »

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Deadline Big Media 78: The CinemaCon Wrapup Podcast

Deadline Big Media podcast 78 (.MP3 version)In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom wrap up all the business news out of CinemaCon, the big theater-owner convention that David Lieberman covered last week. Now that he’s back in Deadline’s Manhattan offices, David L. talks with David B. about the hot topics affecting the movie theater business, including a look at the state of the industry, whether movies and alcohol can mix, why it might be time for a discount ticket night, and why you can’t buy a movie ticket on Amazon.

The two Davids also discuss Charter Communications’ “astonishing” filing objecting to the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal and why Reed Hastings might have some buyer’s remorse over his company’s interconnection pact with Comcast. They also look at whether now is finally the time for a DirecTV/Dish Network merger. Read More »

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Don’t Bet Just Yet On A Dish Network-DirecTV Merger, Analysts Warn

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 11:20am PDT

Investors seem to be clearing their heads from the adrenaline jolt they experienced yesterday when Bloomberg reported that Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen recently approached DirecTV CEO Michael White to discuss a potential merger — in part as a response to Comcast’s $45.2B deal to buy Time Warner Cable. Dish DirecTVShares in both satellite companies shot up on the news, but have started to settle as of midday trading today leaving Dish +5.5 over the day and a half period with DirecTV +2.6%. The big surprise in the report was that Ergen is still interested in a deal: He has been focused lately on amassing wireless spectrum to launch a broadband service, and has made skeptical comments about the prospects for traditional satellite TV. But he and White have noted that the companies could save a lot of money — if regulators would let them combine. Read More »

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DirecTV CEO Makes $12.5M In 2013, A 31% Drop Due To Cut In Option Awards

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 1:56pm PDT

At first glance the compensation for Michael White listed in DirecTV‘s new proxy statement looks like a big pay cut. Michael WhiteBut it may simply reflect an accounting fluke: The satellite company gave him $12M in option awards in … Read More »

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DirecTV’s ‘Rogue’ Season 2 Premiere Set For May 28

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 9:30am PDT

The second season of the suspense Rogue Season 2 Premiere Datedrama starring Thandie Newton and new addition Cole Hauser will debut on Wednesday, May 28 at 10 PM, DirecTV announced today. Newton (The Pursuit Of Happyness, Crash) will resume her role as the morally and emotionally conflicted undercover detective Grace Travis, and Hauser (Transcendence, Olympus Has Fallen) joins the cast as the charming and enigmatic Ethan Kelly. Season 2 of Rogue will pick up with Grace trying to navigate a new life as she remains separated from her husband while balancing her job as handler for an FBI Task Force investigating the shadowy world of corporate espionage in San Francisco. Read More »

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DirecTV Plans To Simplify TV Program Offers And Bills

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 10:38am PDT

Pay TV is “a pretty imperfect market. It isn’t like anything sold at Walmart, I can tell you that,” DirecTV CEO Michael White said as he outlined his initiatives to an investor group. Michael WhiteBy mid-year he plans to “simplify … Read More »

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DirecTV CEO Vows To Resist Cable Concentration, And High Charges For Weather Channel And Dodgers

While he hasn’t decided whether to oppose the deal in Washington, DirecTV CEO Mike White says Comcast’s $42.5B pact to buy Time Warner Cable would result in “unprecedented media concentration in one company.” DirecTV Weather channelThe No. 1 satellite service provider is “still assessing some of the competitive implications” but White wants to “ensure it’s appropriately scrutinized” — especially the “effective broadband monopoly they might have in two-thirds of the country.” The owner of NBCUniversal also would have a lot of power to raise content prices. That “creates some significant changes in the competitive landscape that we have to think hard about.” Couldn’t Comcast use its clout, with 30M subs after a merger, to slow the rate of increase in programming costs? Perhaps, but “it’s a complicated dynamic because that leverage may not flow through to its competitors.”

White says he’ll continue to resist high programming costs.”None of our customers have an income like those of us on the call here.” He wouldn’t comment on the state of the carriage negotiations with The Weather Channel, which went dark on DirecTV in January, but says that his company “may have lost a few thousand customers in the first quarter” due to the dispute. “Fundamentally I continue to believe if your viewership goes down ….that should be reflected in the price.” Read More »

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Sam Champion’s New Weather Channel Show Name Revealed

If you guessed Sam Champion‘s new The Weather Channel show was going to be called AMHQ — you win! Champion himself did the unveiling, this morning, via Twitter.

TWC put out a news release, however,  explaining AMHQ is short for America’s Morning Headquarters – but that the official title is AMHQ.  Read More »

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DirecTV And Dish Network Will Team To Sell Political Ads

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 4:09am PST

Dish DirecTVEL SEGUNDO, Calif. And ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Jan. 27, 2014 – DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV) and DISH Network L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), have joined forces to offer an addressable advertising platform of unprecedented scale and reach for political campaigns. The strategic relationship will allow participating statewide political campaigns to target their TV ads at the household level within 20+ million DIRECTV and DISH homes.

The DIRECTV-DISH arrangement will focus on political TV advertisements only, while the companies’ other media sales efforts will continue to operate independently.

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Should SiriusXM Ask Howard Stern To Take A Pay Cut?

Fans of the shock jock won’t like the conclusions that Macquarie Equities Research’s Amy Young reaches in a new report on this provocative question. HowardSternWhile Howard Stern was a big draw for SiriusXM in 2004 when he agreed to … Read More »

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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:
Read More »

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Weather Channel’s Bond Ratings Could Suffer If DirecTV Dispute Lasts: Moody’s

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 9:07am PST

The Weather Channel faces “severe operational and credit ramifications” if it can’t reach a deal with DirecTV to bring it back to the satellite company’s 20M subscribers, Moody’s Investors Service says today. Weather Channel DirecTVThe channel went dark this week on the No. 1 satellite service. The bond rating firm isn’t worried yet, saying that “there is a good chance that both parties will eventually renew the contract in order to avoid customer dissatisfaction and churn.” But TWC had better watch out. Its debt burden sharply increased last year when it borrowed $600M to pay a dividend to its owners — NBCUniversal, Bain Capital Partners, and Blackstone Management Partners. Moody’s said at the time that the borrowing seemed to indicate that “NBCU is comfortable with high leverage at [TWC], and signals that it does not view [TWC] as a strategic core-asset, but as an opportunistic investment.” Although it said that TWC generates enough cash to pay down the debt quickly, it expected the company to “either make acquisitions or build capacity for future dividend payments.” That’s why the DirecTV dispute is worrisome. Revenues from TV ad sales and distributor fees account for as much as 60% of TWC’s sales, Moody’s estimates — and without DirecTV the top line number could decline “in the mid single to low double digit range.” That could trouble debt owners: TWC is “weakly positioned” in Moody’s rating of B1, which indicates its belief that its debt too risky for many investors. Read More »

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Weather Channel Pushing Public Safety Image After DirecTV Blackout

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 10:08am PST

Weather Channel DirecTVWhen it rains, it pours. Hours after pulling its service from DirecTV following failed carriage talks with the satcaster, NBCUniversal-owned The Weather Channel announced a new initiative in its campaign to boost its status as a public utility. The company said it will start promoting new weather emergency Twitter hashtags #GotFuel, #NoFuel and #PowerLineDown established by the White House, FEMA, and the Department of Energy, adding to recent efforts to rebrand as a key resource for information in the event of natural disaster and weather emergencies. TWC says its promotion of said hashtags “will enable local citizens to report important emergency information” and thus aid “survivors, first responders, FEMA, DOE and utility companies” in the face of emergency. The timing isn’t coincidental. Read More »

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UPDATE: The Weather Channel Goes Dark On DirecTV As Carriage Talks Fail

101C6DCD-BA7A-D466-285DAB91C4B86D21DirecTV_logo4TH UPDATE, 10:05 PM: Each side is — gasp! — blaming the other for the blackout. Now DirecTV has issued a statement of its own regarding the Weather Channel. It reads in part: “Consumers understand there are now a variety of other ways to get weather coverage, free of reality show clutter, and that The Weather Channel does not have an exclusive on weather coverage – the weather belongs to everyone.” (The full statement is below.)

Related: Weather Channel Tells TV Critics That DirecTV Is Putting Americans At Risk; Critics Dubious

3RD UPDATE, 9:21 PM: Here we go again. In the latest showdown between a pay TV company and a content provider, the Weather Channel is no longer available on DirecTV as of midnight Eastern. The parties were unable to reach a carriage deal. DirecTV customers who tune to the familiar channel 361 are getting the feed from a small operation called WeatherNation, which the satcaster had snuck onto channel 361 before year’s end. “We offered DirecTV the best rate for our programming, and I am shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day,” David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, said in a statement tonight. “We are not looking for a large fee increase. We are simply looking for a fair deal. …” (Read the company’s full statement below.)

During the Weather Channel’s crowded session at the TCA Press Tour this morning, its president David Clark and Sam Campion — recently poached from Good Morning America — toed the company line that the satcaster not carrying their channel amounts to a public safety issue. Their statements echoed a release from the Weather Channel late Friday that urged DirecTV subscribers to call their congressmen to voice concern about losing the service. The satellite TV giant responded with a release of its own saying it had received numerous complaints about the Weather Channel’s growing slate of reality programming.

The Weather Channel-DirecTV action comes four months after Time Warner Cable and CBS settled their dispute that had resulted in a monthlong blackout of CBS and Showtime channels for TWC customers. Read More »

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TCA: Weather Channel Tells TV Critics That DirecTV Is Putting Americans At Risk; Critics Dubious

Weather Channel DirecTVA major storm rained down on Winter TV Press Tour 2014 this morning when The Weather Channel took the stage to blast DirectTV over their current carriage dispute. In anticipation of the channel’s appearance before a couple hundred journalists at the tour, it  issued an ominous campaign late last night warning viewers they needed to contact their congressional reps to intervene, or else DirecTV would take away “its critical weather programming,” calling it a “public safety issue.”

TV critics at the press tour weren’t entirely drinking The Weather Channel’s  Kool-aid. One critic noted TWC is a successful company owned by a big corporation, asking “Is it fair to declare it a public utility?” in what’s really a business dispute.

Related: DirecTV Hits Back In Weather Channel Spat, Citing Customer Complaints

DirecTV Weather channel“Absolutely. And I’m not kidding,” Weather Channel president David Clark responded ominously.  “If you’ve ever been in a severe weather situation and you need to make a decision to protect your family and you need to make it fast” you need “to know your information comes from a trusted source… We have a mission to serve that we take seriously. Don’t think you can stand a fly-by-night alternative to that,” he said, warning “you’re going to be putting your audience at risk.”

And by “fly-by-night” he meant a little channel called WeatherNation that the satellite giant’s subscribers might have noticed appearing right next to Weather Channel on DirecTV’s lineup in recent weeks, as the satcaster’s carriage deal with The Weather Channel is set to expire next week.

At Clark’s side on stage, The Weather Channel’s pricey new hire Sam Champion warned “there isn’t one,” in re alternatives to The Weather Channel in a weather emergency. “I’d love to say we can rest assured we’re safe in our homes because of BLANK. There isn’t one… Getting people ready, getting them through a storm that is the worst time in their life, is something I don’t take lightly, and this channel does it better than anyone else  — anywhere . The Coast Guard, the Navy — everybody — police officers, fire officers watch this channel during emergencies to get  information. That’s a responsibility that no one takes lightly. What we’re trying to say is we want people to have access to it.”

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