Things just got personal in the war between DirecTV and The Weather Channel. It’s the same old story. The Weather Channel wants to increase how much they charge DirecTV for the channel, DirecTV doesn’t want to pay that because it will either eat into their profits or they’ll have to jack up rates to make up for it. Both sides are seeking more money, though it is generally the cable company that gets painted as the bad guy, as fair or unfair as that may be. Everybody hates the cable company, after all.
The Weather Channel is taking things a step further with a massive full page ad in The New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post and WSJ which is an open letter to DirecTV from TWC CEO David Kenny. It’s actually kind of hilarious, and I suggest you read the thing in its entirety below via The Wrap:
“January 22, 2014
Mr. Michael D. White
Chairman, CEO and President
Just before midnight on January 13, DIRECTV customers lost access to The Weather Channel.Since then, over 4 million customers have come to keeptheweatherchannel.com to express their frustration. Over 400,000 have called and emailed DIRECTV. And over 90,000 have pledged to switch providers. Many thousands have called your customer service centers asking to terminate their contracts since they are now getting less content for the same price. But DIRECTV is threatening them with termination fees of $200 to $400. We have heard from viewers across the country, like Heather in Texas who wrote, “We just signed on with DIRECTV.…Had I known this was going to happen I would NOT have signed up. I read the fine print (too late) and found that they can do that. It’s wrong.”
We agree. Fairness ought to trump the fine print in your contracts.
The decision to switch providers is never taken lightly. Those who are trying to do so clearly believe The Weather Channel is a valued resource for their families. They are people like @jlawson2011, who tweeted “The Weather Channel saved my life when there was severe weather in my area. Tornado imminent + TWC warning to hide.” These viewers—your customers—value the fact that since 1982 The Weather Channel has been relying upon the National Weather Service for watches and warnings, which we deliver on a hyper-local basis through our proprietary localization technology.
Your customers were never given a vote about DIRECTV’s decision to drop The Weather Channel. The least you can do is allow them to vote now with their feet by waiving termination fees for those seeking to switch to a provider that still carries The Weather Channel, as every other pay-TV company in the nation does.
Our preference would be for DIRECTV to come back to the negotiating table and restore The Weather Channel to your line up. But as you seem intent on proving a point at the expense of your customers’ interests, then at least allow them to make their own choices without unaffordable penalties.
As our team of more than 220 expert meteorologists tracks winter storms, wildfires in Southern California, and many other potential weather emergencies, a prompt reply—not to me, but to your customers—would surely
David W. Kenny
Chairman and CEO
The Weather Company”
[Photo via Frederick M. Brown/Stringer]