AccuWeather Network goes live on Verizon FiOS TV

The AccuWeather building on Science Park Road on Thursday.
The AccuWeather building on Science Park Road on Thursday. CDT file photo

The wait is over.

The AccuWeather Network is finally on air.

The network, based out of Ferguson Township, went live on Verizon FiOS TV in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

“It feels good, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback on it already,” AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers said. “The Verizon footprint is more concentrated in the Northeast than anywhere else, and AccuWeather has a good following there as well as other markets. There’s been a tremendous amount of positive feedback from viewers.”

The AccuWeather Network, a 24/7 weather broadcast station, was picked up recently by Verizon FiOS TV.

“This was an area where we didn’t have coverage, but we have coverage in virtually every other medium and because of our expertise in digital technology we created a channel with the look and feel of a digital device,” Myers said. “Think of a TV as a giant iPad or tablet and program accordingly. I think you’ll find our programming is crisp, sharp, clear and focused on weather all the time.”

The cable provider dropped The Weather Channel late Monday to make way for AccuWeather.

The Weather Channel released a statement on Verizon FiOS’s decision Tuesday.

“We were disappointed when late yesterday, March 9, Verizon FiOS dropped The Weather Channel from their lineup while our companies continued to be in active conversations regarding a contract renewal,” the statement said.

The Weather Channel recently re-upped contracted with other networks.

“After recently renewing carriage agreements with NCTC, Cox and Time Warner Cable, we are surprised Verizon FiOS would deny their subscribers access to the best live weather coverage and expertise that only The Weather Channel can provide,” the statement said. “They have made it clear to us that they no longer wish to negotiate​,​ despite our desire to continue to serve their subscribers.”

Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski said in an email the companies did not have a negotiation dispute.

“Verizon’s agreements to carry The Weather Channel and Weather Scan expired and was not renewed,” he said. “Verizon now provides a TV-based option with the new AccuWeather Network for customers who want to continue to access weather information all the time via FiOS TV. In addition, FiOS TV offers a WeatherBug “widget” application, which features hyper-local weather, on FiOS TV channel 49; WeatherBug also can be launched by pressing the “widget” button on the FiOS TV remote.”

Gierczynski said the AccuWeather Network will allow FiOS TV to provide customers a “specialized view of both local and national weather activity while also reducing somewhat our overall rising content costs.

He declined to release terms of the deal with AccuWeather.

“Information about content deals is proprietary, so we do not disclose the details of our or other parties’ negotiations,” Gierczynski said. “Content costs have risen 20-30 percent overall since 2010, often with no regard to the alternatives in a rapidly changing technological environment, and Verizon has committed to reducing overall content costs in 2015 and beyond for the sake of our customers and the business.”

Gierczynski believes concerned customers will be pleased with the network.

“We understand that some customers will be disappointed,” he said. “However we believe AccuWeather Network’s launch on FiOS TV ... meets consumer demand for all-weather news and information that viewers can trust. The network will constantly improve and evolve with additional localized and customized programming, adding new features and content enhancements to further benefit viewers in the months ahead.”

Myers said viewers will appreciate the network’s focus on weather and not

“It’s got a unique look, and there’s no reality TV fluff,” he said. “It’s all weather, all the time that’s relevant to people.”