The Weather Channel has returned to DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), but in a move that may have repercussions for other retransmission disputes, it's the channel, not the service provider, that made concessions so that the return could happen.
After three months off the DirecTV lineup, TWC got the go-ahead to come back if it cut back its reality programming by half during the week, restored instant local weather and let DirecTV subscribers watch its programming on multiple devices.
Maybe even more surprising, David Kenny, CEO of The Weather Channel's parent company, The Weather Company, apologized to DirecTV and its customers "for the disruption of our service and for initiating a public campaign" to make DirecTV restore the service.
"Our viewers deserve better than a public dispute and we pledge to reward their loyalty with exceptional programming and more weather-focused news," Kenny said, alluding to DirecTV's 20 million subscribers in a Weather Channel press release.
DirecTV had replaced The Weather Channel with WeatherNation while the service was off the air. That generated a heated response from TWC, which initiated a campaign claiming DirecTV was withholding crucial weather information. WeatherNation, which recently signed a deal with the service provider, will continue to be carried along with TWC.
Neither party detailed any changes in the transmission fees DirecTV pays to carry the channel, focusing instead on the make-up of the new Weather Channel and the inconvenience three months off the air caused subscribers.
"It's a shame these disputes are played out on a public stage, but I'm pleased that we've been able to work together with The Weather Channel in a way that will benefit everyone," DirecTV Chief Content Officer Dan York said in the press release. "I know this was frustrating for many of our customers, but their patience was ultimately rewarded with a better deal and a better product."
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