Verizon's FiOS TV has dropped The Weather Channel after saying agreements to carry the service expired and have not been renewed. In the slots where TWC was running in high definition (619) and standard definition (119), FiOS is now carrying AccuWeather Network. The switchout also took place on the FiOS mobile app.
In a message to FiOS subscribers this morning, Verizon said: "Verizon’s agreements to carry The Weather Channel and Weather Scan have expired, and have not been renewed. In today’s environment, customers are increasingly accessing weather information not only from their TV but from a variety of online sources and apps. Verizon is therefore pleased to launch the new AccuWeather Network, which will be available on FiOS® TV on channel 119/619 (HD) and on our free FiOS Mobile App starting March 10, 2015. Verizon will also provide the FiOS TV WeatherBug “widget” application, which features hyper-local weather, on FiOS TV channel 49. WeatherBug can also be launched by pressing the “widget” button on the FiOS TV remote."
UPDATE: The Weather Company, through a spokesman, sent Multichannel News this statement: "We were disappointed when, without warning late yesterday, March 9, Verizon FiOS dropped The Weather Channel from their lineup while our companies continued to be in active conversations regarding a contract renewal. FiOS customers have enjoyed a bundle of services from The Weather Channel including the network, WeatherScan, On Demand, a Weather Widget and streaming on mobile devices. During a winter with record-breaking storms and severe weather, The Weather Channel responded with non-stop live coverage, including the ongoing presence of our crews reporting live from hard-hit communities within the Verizon FiOS footprint. This coverage resulted in The Weather Channel being the only major cable network to grow in February. After recently renewing carriage agreements with NCTC, Cox and Time Warner Cable, we are surprised Verizon FiOS would deny their subscribers access to the best live weather coverage and expertise that only The Weather Channel can provide. We urge FiOS customers to contact Verizon and voice their displeasure."
The Weather Channel has had showdowns with, and drops by, big multichannel providers in the past, including DirecTV, which dropped the service for nearly three months at the start of 2014. TWC was restored to DirecTV shortly after DirecTV cut a deal to become a preferred provider to Hilton Hotels, which wanted TWC on the lineup, reports said. Dish Network in 2010 threatened to drop The Weather Channel but reached a new multi-year agreement a few days later without having dropped the channel.
Launched in May 1982, The Weather Channel tops the Nielsen list of national networks with 97.1 million subscribers as of the start of March. FiOS TV had 5.64 million subscribers as of the end of 2014.