The Weather Channel Could Fall off of Dish

The Weather Channel rolled the dice and lost when it tried to bully DirecTV into paying higher Retransmission fees.

TWC finally made it's way back onto DirecTV's satellite, but not for nearly as much as it was asking for. 

FTVLive was the FIRST to tell you last month that FIOS had ditched TWC. Now, it appears that The Weather Channel could soon be falling off of Dish Network. 

The Wall Street Journal writes that the TWC's carriage contract expires in coming months and the Weather Channel’s backers are preparing for the possibility of being dropped by Dish, which has about 14 million subscribers, the people familiar with the matter said.

The financial outlook for parent company Weather Co. is deteriorating. Moody’s Investors Service on Friday downgraded the company’s debt, saying it isn’t perceived by cable and satellite companies as a “must have” channel, and could therefore be dropped by more providers or face cuts in carriage fees.

As more consumers “cut the cord,” or drop their pay-TV subscriptions, cable and satellite providers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their hefty programming expenses—either by paying less for channels or dropping those that they feel their viewers can live without.

Media companies with bundles anchored by powerful channels—Walt Disney Co. with ESPN and Time Warner Inc. with TNT, for example—can negotiate in a way Weather Channel cannot. Moody’s said the environment makes it “challenging for stand-alone and smaller cable networks to maintain their subscriber base.”

In an interview, Weather Co. Chief Executive David Kenny said the company has been aggressively diversifying into digital advertising and business-to-business services so it isn’t so reliant on TV. Those areas combined have already eclipsed TV revenue, he said.

“I feel really supported to finish this transition that we have started,” he said. “We are on a very different path to become a data and tech company.”

To attract new audiences, the Weather Channel moved in recent years to expand its prime-time programming lineup to include more reality shows. The company said 53% of its hours are dedicated to live weather information, while 47% is dedicated to original programming.

Nonetheless, ratings have sagged. The average number of viewers tuning in during prime-time fell 22% between 2011 and 2014 to 225,000, according to Nielsen. Since December, however, severe winter storms in the Northeast have helped increase the channel’s viewership.

The Weather Channel is trying to reinvent itself or die trying.

Stay tuned....