The Weather Channel just disappeared from Verizon FiOS channel listings. This morning, Verizon sent an email to all customers announcing that its agreement to carry the channel has expired — and isn't being renewed. "In today’s environment, customers are increasingly accessing weather information not only from their TV but from a variety of online sources and apps," the company said in its statement. True enough, smartphones have put the current temperature, forecast, and emergency weather alerts in immediate reach. We won't get into the sensitive topic of which weather app is best, but Verizon seems to think they're all a better option than tuning your TV to The Weather Channel.
Your phone is better at weather than any TV
At least that's the public explanation. It's likely there's a financial impasse between both companies which is also influencing Verizon's decision. "We negotiate hundreds of these agreements each year and, while we are able to reach mutually agreeable terms with the majority of our programming partners prior to any service disruptions, sometimes broadcasters and cable networks demand unacceptable price increases," reads the Verizon website on broadcaster negotiations.
FiOS customers aren't being left without a source of 24/7 weather coverage, though; the new AccuWeather Network is being added to the channel selection effective immediately, and it can also be streamed when away from your TV using the FiOS smartphone app. Verizon notes that it gives viewers yet another option with the WeatherBug widget that can be enabled at any time. But in the end, there's really no replacing Jim Cantore — and as Quartz points out, AccuWeather isn't yet a match for The Weather Channel's non-stop storm-tracking operation. The Weather Channel was briefly dropped from DirecTV last year, but eventually the two managed to meet in the middle on a new agreement that brought it back.