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Weather Channel Challenges DirecTV's Numbers in Carriage Dispute

Programmer Questions DBS Leader's Tally That Only '100' Are Concerned about Disconnect 1/27/2014 9:32 PM Eastern

 

In the latest salvo in its carriage contretemps with DirecTV, The Weather Channel is challenging the DBS leader’s numbers.

The programmer, whose service was dropped from DirecTV’s air on Jan. 13 in a carriage dispute, says it has bought ads in the Jan. 28 editions of The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times under the headline: “DirecTV’s 99.9995% Fiction.”

The number refers to the percentage of customers president and CEO Mike White says on the company's website have voted to remain with DirecTV. In his remarks made on Jan. 24, White also said that Weather Channel has lost one-third of its viewers over the past two years and is only worth one-quarter of the programmer’s asking price for a new license fee deal.

Given DirecTV’s 20 million subscribers, Weather Channel questions that only 100 of its customer are concerned about the disconnect. Weather Channel’s ad opens by saying millions of customers have made their voices heard on its Web site. A look at http://www.keeptheweatherchannel.com/ on Monday night put the programmer’s tally at over 4.8 million who had visited the site, 750,000 who complained to DirecTV and over 139,000 who have pledged to switch providers.

Tuesday’s ad marks a follow-up to the open letter from Weather Channel chairman and CEO David Kenny that ran in the above-mentioned newspapers, as well as The New York Times and The Washington Post, on Jan. 22 which urged DirecTV to waive steep cancellation fees.

The Jan. 28 ad also includes testimonials from two customers one of whom says she will drop DirecTV, while the other notes that since customers don’t have any say in constructing channel lineups  “it’s only fair that we get the chance to switch companies without being held liable to pay termination fees.”

Weather says it couldn’t agree more and urges DirecTV to reinstate the channel to its lineup or let customers “switch without an unfair fee.”

The full ad copy can be read below:

DIRECTV’s 99.9995% FICTION
 
Since DIRECTV dropped The Weather Channel, millions of customers have made their voices heard on our website, like Liz who wrote: “I am a college instructor at a branch campus in rural Missouri. We get seriously dangerous weather here—tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards, electrical storms and floods. I have depended on The Weather Channel for years to decide if it is too dangerous to have classes because many of my students live way out in the country on dirt roads that become hazardous. I will drop DIRECTV.”
 
But instead of listening, DIRECTV’s CEO posted an open letter saying 99.9995% of his customers don’t care about losing The Weather Channel.
 
Really????? Have they read their own Facebook page?
 
DIRECTV’s 99.9995% number means they want you to believe that only 100 out of DIRECTV’s 20 million subscribers care about The Weather Channel. Yes, only 100.
 
Does DIRECTV think everyone’s stupid or just not paying attention?
 
In either case, if DIRECTV truly believes nobody cares about The Weather Channel, then it should have no problem waiving its punishing cancellation fee for those who must change providers.
 
Customers like Nicole who wrote: “Since subscribers don’t get a say in lineup changes, then it’s only fair that we get the chance to switch companies without being held liable to pay termination fees.”
 
We couldn’t agree more.
 
DIRECTV should do the right thing: Put The Weather Channel back in the lineup or let customers switch without an unfair fee.
 
Join the millions who are speaking out and switching at:
www.keeptheweatherchannel.com
#stormDIRECTV

 

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