Weather Channel CEO David Kenny says it’s possible that DirecTV may never carry his programming again.
DirecTV currently has Weather Channel blacked out on its system over a contract dispute. DTV wants to reduce what it pays to carry Weather Channel’s shows.
Today, Kenny told Business Insider, “DirecTV has dropped the Weather Channel. We certainly believe it could be permanent. We have a plan to continue to gain audience in the rest of the TV world. We have a strong TV business without them.”
Kenny is furious because DTV has been making the argument that Weather Channel’s audience has declined due to people using mobile apps for forecasts instead of turning on the TV.
“Next year they’ll make that argument about stock prices, then they’ll make it about news. It’s odd to make that argument that cable TV is dead except for NFL. It’s odd to see them say that,” he says. “They could no longer believe in TV, so we’re just moving on. I hope they’ll come back.”
The Weather Channel’s fee dispute with DirecTV underlines just how vulnerable some cable TV channels are to mobile apps that provide similar need-to-know content.
DirecTV wants Weather Channel to take a 20% cut in the fees it pays to carry Weather Channel, in part because Weather Channel’s audience has fallen 19% to 214,000 since 2011, according to Nielsen. Currently, DTV pays about 13 cents per subscriber per month, according to numbers from SNL Kagan, the cable industry monitor.
DTV has blacked out the channel since Monday night.
The TV audience decline has come at the same time Weather Channel’s mobile app has exploded in popularity. Because the app does something useful everyday, it’s one of the few apps people download, use, and don’t delete when they’re bored of it. It was the 10th most popular free iPad app last year. More than 100 million people have downloaded it across all devices.