A dispute over fees between DirecTV and The Weather Channel has left about 20 million DirecTV customers without the long-running weather channel, the Associated Press reported.
As a midnight EST deadline for renegotiation of carriage fees paid by DirecTV to The Weather Channel came to an end, the two companies continued to blame each other and failed to come to an agreement on late Monday.
DirecTV was offered the best rate for its programming, David Kenny, CEO of the channel's parent company, The Weather Co., said in a statement. He accused the satellite provider of putting profits ahead of public safety, the AP reported.
"We are not looking for a large fee increase," Kenny said, just a "fair deal" that allows for continued investment in science and technology to deliver weather news and stories to viewers.
According to the AP, customers will still be able to watch the weather news on the WeatherNation channel. DirecTV called the loss of The Weather Channel "regrettable."
Both the channel and the service satellite, however, have not stopped talking, according to a statement from Dan York, DirecTV chief content officer. DirecTV is discussing an agreement to bring the channel back to its lineup at "the right value for our customers," York said. Viewers were requested to urge Congress to intervene in the business dispute by David Clark, president of The Weather Channel, at a news conference on Saturday.
According to the AP, part of the NBC Universal stable of networks, the channel is owned by Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company.
"Yes, it is a privately held company and a for-profit" enterprise, Clark said. "That's OK. What also happens to be true is that we have a mission to serve."
WeatherNation was launched by DirecTV as a response to consumer complaints about the amount of reality programs that The Weather Channel airs instead of weather forecasting, DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said.
Local network affiliates also offer DirecTV customers with local weather information and the system also makes its emergency channels available for weather programming during severe weather, he said.