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DirecTV's Weather Channel replacement beefs up content mix

Almost a month after DirecTV dropped the Weather Channel from its line-up, the satellite operator has announced a slate of new weather services from its replacement partner, WeatherNation.

Local Weather Now allows customers to access local weather anytime, and the Severe Weather Mix provides six channels of interactive weather coverage on one screen during major weather events.

"The Severe Weather Mix and Local Weather Now services will utilise cutting-edge technology, compelling graphics, expert forecasting ability and story-telling skills to quickly and conveniently communicate complex patterns and explain weather phenomena to viewers at home," said Michael Norton, president of WeatherNation TV.

The DirecTV deal, which gives it a presence in 20 million homes, is a big break for WeatherNation, considering that the Weather Channel has carriage deals sewn up with all other major video operators in the United States. The satcaster dropped Weather Channel on 13 January after a carriage fee spat (despite direct appeals to subscribers by celebrity storm-chaser Jim Cantore and others). So far, there's no sign that Weather Channel will be back.

Meanwhile WeatherNation's Local Weather Now offers two ways to access customised local weather information at the zip-code level. First, customers who are tuned to WeatherNation can press the red button on their remote to access instant local weather conditions and outlook. In addition, later this week, short-term and extended weather forecasts by zip code will also be integrated into the live WeatherNation broadcast and run automatically on the channel every ten minutes — roughly replicating the Weather Channel's 'local on the 8s.'

The new Severe Weather Mix will launch in early March and will be activated during major weather events that are potentially life-threatening. Services on the six-in-one-channel mix will vary depending on circumstances.

"We realise that having instant access to local weather is important to our customers and are proud to partner with WeatherNation on these great new services, which will provide more in-depth local and severe weather coverage than any other TV provider," said Dan York, DirecTV's chief content officer.

The two companies said that they are planning additional new enhancements to WeatherNation in the coming weeks.

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