DISH Dropping The Weather Channel

By Alex Weprin 

As of midnight tonight, DISH Network will pull The Weather Channel from its lineup. As is often the case with disputes of this nature, the fight was over the network’s carriage fee.

According to SNL Kagan, The Weather Channel received an average of $0.11 cents per subscriber in 2009. Said a Weather Channel Statement:

Despite negotiations over the past several months, DISH has chosen to be the first distributor to drop The Weather Channel rather than pay the standard industry rates others in the industry have already agreed to pay. We are disappointed with their decision and hopeful that we can still reach an agreement with DISH Network and bring this highly valued network back to its customers.

Weather passed the 100 million household mark in April of this year. DISH has approximately 14 million subscribers, and is one of the country’s larger pay-television operators.

Update: According to The Los Angeles TimesJoe Flint DISH is preparing to launch its own weather service, called Weather Cast.

Dish said Weather Cast will “feature live round-the-clock weather reporting” and will replace Weather Channel, which the company said “has recently moved away from weather reporting to a mix of movies and other entertainment-focused programming.”

Update 2: It is now Friday morning and Weather is still on DISH, looks like talks are continuing.

Update 3: Inside Cable news points us to this blog from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Sounds like DISH’s Weather Cast channel is the real deal, and not just a bargaining chip.

It costs millions of dollars to run these high-res weather models – we have some incredible partners helping us. No idea what comes next, suffice to say that I’m proud to be working with Dish Network. There are what, 6-8 different new/business channels out there – I believe there’s room for another weather-voice, another way to tell the weather story. We’ll see how this plays out. But I’ll close with this – 2 years ago, when I launched WeatherNation, had anyone predicted we’d be starting up a national weather channel I would have laughed them out of my office. It’s all a bit surreal, but I’m proud of my team. No matter what happens next – that will not change.