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T&P Warehouse: Historic building remains in limbo as area redevelops

For years, the historic T&P Warehouse on West Lancaster Avenue downtown, built in 1931 to house freight for the Texas Pacific Railway, has sat vacant and deteriorating.

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Susan Halsey, Fort Worth attorney, business leader, dies

Susan Halsey, a Fort Worth attorney who was also a community and business leader, died on Friday, Dec. 19. Halsey, 55, was chairman for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce in 2013-2014, leading the chamber during a year

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Heating up: West Lancaster corridor projects moving forward

West Lancaster Avenue through downtown Fort Worth is heating up, with planners envisioning a lively mixed-use corridor that extends the central business district further south.

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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Cousins Properties to sell 777 Main tower in downtown Fort Worth

Cousins Properties Inc. has confirmed plans to sell the 777 Main office tower in downtown Fort Worth, according to a news release from the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm.

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Stormclouds as DirecTV drops Weather Channel

 

Andy Fixmer
(c) 2014, Bloomberg News.
LOS ANGELES — DirecTV, the biggest U.S. satellite TV service, lost The Weather Channel from its lineup after failing to secure lower fees.

The channel owned by Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal and private equity firms Blackstone and Bain Capital was unavailable from 12:01 a.m. New York time, according to an e-mailed statement from Atlanta-based The Weather Channel. DirecTV is seeking a "substantial" reduction in monthly carriage fees, David Kenny, chairman and chief executive officer of The Weather Co., the channel's parent, said in a phone interview before the statement was released.

Cable networks with smaller audiences such as The Weather Channel are bearing the brunt of pay-TV carriers' efforts to limit cost increases, as the most-watched cable and broadcast networks demand more. The Weather Channel is even more vulnerable because viewers can get up-to-date information on smartphones or the Web, and watch local TV or a 24-hour cable- news channel when there is a storm in their area, said Christopher King, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

"Carriage fees are an ongoing area of contention," King, who recommends DirecTV shares, wrote in an e-mail. "It's difficult for me to say whether we need a channel dedicated to weather."

DirecTV, with 20 million subscribers, is seeking to cut the fee it pays The Weather Channel by 20 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The channel had asked for a 1-cent increase in the monthly subscriber fee, Kenny said.

DirecTV is in talks for "an agreement to return the network to our line-up at the right value for our customers," Dan York, chief content officer, at the El Segundo, California- based company, said in an e-mailed statement.

The Weather Channel averaged 13 cents a month per subscriber in 2013 and in 2012, according to estimates from researcher SNL Kagan. By comparison, USA Network, the most- watched U.S. cable channel with an average prime-time audience of 2.43 million viewers, received 71 cents a month for each subscriber last year.

"This is not a big increase and we haven't had anyone else balk, Kenny said. ''This is an incredibly aggressive stance.''

The Weather Channel, available in 100 million U.S. homes, averaged 214,000 daily viewers in 2013, down from 264,000 in 2011, according to data provided by Nielsen. The audience surged to 709,000 during Hurricane Sandy and 326,000 during this month's Polar Vortex that led to sub-freezing temperatures across the U.S.

NBCUniversal, which holds a 25 percent stake in The Weather Channel, is a passive investor and isn't involved in the distribution talks, Kenny said.

DirecTV began carrying WeatherNation, a competitor, in the weeks before the contract's expiration. AccuWeather Inc. announced plans Monday to start its own 24-hour weather channel in the third quarter.


— With assistance from Scott Moritz in New York.

 

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