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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 30, 2011

DirecTV Offering Channels Dedicated to Covering Hurricane Irene

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

DirecTV (News - Alert) is already one of the only pay cable television providers that seems to be seeing subscriber growth but during Hurricane Irene the company seemed to want to solidify its standing. The satellite TV company told its customers that while Hurricane Irene was raging the company would dedicate several different stations specifically to cover the goings on. These stations were used to give people in areas that were affected an up to the minute report of what was going on in their neighborhoods.

The stations, 259, 325 and 349 on the DirecTV lineup were giving more than just a blow by blow report of the storm. Along with updates that would allow viewers when to know when it seemed safe to come out, the stations were also updating on evacuation procedures. Because it can be hard to know exactly where to go for information that is so specific such as if your town is being evacuated, having channels dedicated solely to that must have seemed like a boon to viewers.

DirecTV’s moves like this are most likely one of the reasons the television company is able to add subscribers during a time when most other companies are losing customers. The company has said that it will continue to offer those channels until the dangers of Hurricane Irene have completely subsided and there is no other information that needs to be distributed. DirecTV has made several savy business moves over the last few years that seem to be carrying the company to profitable years when other cable providers are limping along. 

Still the company is always facing stiff competition including from another satellite cable provider in Dish TV. The Dish Network was once considered an ugly stepbrother to DirecTV but in recent years it has grown to be a true competitor in many markets. DirecTV still has indirect competitors like Netflix and iTunes to deal with as well. 

All of these things make us ask questions like: Will DirecTV eventually buckle and add channels like The Longhorn Network? At the moment it appears to be to the right call to leave it off their channel listings but there could be a change in the near future.

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Edited by Jennifer Russell