Weather Channel to Return to DirecTV

by Christopher Freeburn | April 9, 2014 10:40 am

On Wednesday, DirecTV (DTV[1]) subscribers will see something they haven’t been able to view in three months[2]: the Weather Channel.

DirecTV Blockbuster[3]
Source: Flickr[4]

The Weather Channel went dark on DTV due to a dispute of carriage fees. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that the Weather Channel’s return to the DTV lineup came after hotel chain Hilton (HLT[5]) signaled that it wanted to see the Weather Channel in its hotels. DTV is looking to become the “preferred” TV service at Hilton hotels.

Hilton’s desire for the Weather Channel prompted DTV to back away from reduced fees to carry the Weather Channel on its system. Instead, DTV agreed to a small fee increase. If unresolved, the blackout could have cost the Weather Channel roughly 20% of possible viewers.

While Blackstone Group (BX[6]) is Hilton’s majority owner, and a part owner of the Weather Channel’s parent company, sources told the Journal that the investment group did not pressure Hilton to insist on the channel in its hotels.

The Weather Channel is owned by Blackstone, Bain Capital and Comcast’s (CMCSA[7]) Universal.

In Wednesday morning trading, Blackstone Group, Hilton and CMCSA stock all gained more than 1%, while DTV stock fell modestly.

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