NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Satellite television provider DirecTV (DTV) is no longer airing NBC Universal/Comcast's (CMCSA - Get Report) The Weather Channel following intense negotiations between the two companies broke down.
DirecTV immediately replaced The Weather Channel with its own offering called WeatherNation. Dish Network (DISH - Get Report) replaced The Weather Channel after negotiations over carriage fees broke down in 2011.
Each side blames the other for the current situation, with neither party taking responsibility. As in similar disputes, money is the bottom line. DirecTV says 40% of The Weather Channel's programming is now reality based - not weather forecasts - and the Comcast-owned channel wants to be paid at a higher rate. Comcast argues The Weather Channel provides life-saving information for viewers and removing the service from DirecTV's 20 million subscribers is a big mistake.
DirecTV shares were up 0.13% to $70.80, while Comcast was gaining 0.08% to $52.20 in early trading in New York.
Both companies were prepared for the split and have produced dueling commercials to garner support from subscribers. DirecTV's CEO Mike White can be seen pleading his case on a new Website DirecTV Promise. Not to be outdone by the other side, The Weather Channel has launched Keep The Weather Channel with lead weatherman Jim Cantore taking up the cause:
DirecTV is telling subscribers to watch the new WeatherNation channel or get local forecasts from their local ABC (DIS - Get Report), CBS (CBS - Get Report), NBC, Fox (FOX) affiliated station, CNN TWX, or via a long list of Web-based applications.
The Weather Channel is providing links and phone numbers for its affected fans so they can switch to other television providers. There is also an 800-number for people to register complaints with members of Congress.
There are no indications from either side whether or when negotiations to end the standoff might resume.
The competition is also getting into the television business. Privately-owned AccuWeather says it plans to launch its own forecast channel in 2014, possibly in the third quarter.
Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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