Weather Channel Gets Dish Deal Done, Avoiding Drop - Multichannel

Weather Channel Gets Dish Deal Done, Avoiding Drop

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After threatening to drop The Weather Channel, Dish Network agreed to a multiyear pact with the programmer that includes developing localized weather programming "designed specifically for satellite customers."

TWC will remain on Dish on channel 214 and will develop the localized programming on channel 213, the companies said. They reached their agreement late on Sunday evening.

The Weather Channel's localized service for Dish -- to debut sometime this summer -- will be based on Weatherscan, an all-weather, market-specific service launched in 2001 and available in 14 million households through deals with Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Suddenlink Communications and other smaller operators.

Dish senior vice president of programming Dave Shull said in a statement: "Through this new partnership with The Weather Channel, Dish Network is giving our subscribers exactly what they've asked for and more. Not only are we developing a unique satellite service that provides localized weather 24/7, but also we'll soon deliver personalized weather reports via the Android mobile platform and the Web. This agreement recognizes the importance of cross-platform video delivery, ensuring that our subscribers will have the most detailed local weather information available at their fingertips anytime, anywhere."

Dish had claimed TWC was asking for an "unreasonable" carriage fee. The operator also cited TWC's provision of local weather forecasts for cable systems -- but not satellite broadcasters -- last Thursday as a factor in deciding to add a rival weather service called The Weather Cast and an intent to drop The Weather Channel at the expiration of its contract.

However, Dish did not drop the service last Friday, as it had threatened. Dish did not mention The Weather Cast in the joint release with The Weather Channel Monday, but the satellite operator had been carrying Weather Cast on channel 213 for the last few days.

Dish planned to stop carrying The Weather Cast on Monday. WeatherNation founder and CEO Paul Douglas declined to comment.

"Dish Network and their customers are extremely important to us, and maintaining and expanding our partnership is a high priority for our company," Mike Kelly, CEO of The Weather Channel, said in the Monday morning statement. "Dish Network will now be carrying two of our channels -- The Weather Channel and a customized 24-hour, all-local weather information network -- to provide even better service to their customers. We also look forward to working with Dish Network on other cross-platform and interactive initiatives, taking advantage of our leadership position in mobile and the Internet."

Losing Dish would have subtracted 14.3 million subscribers from TWC's base of 100 million.

The Weather Channel is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, which acquired it from Landmark Communications in 2008. The network gets an average of 12 cents per month per sub, according to SNL Kagan.

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