Conservative news network Newsmax on the verge of being phased out by DirecTV

Newsmax, the conservative news channel that broadcasts former President Trump’s rallies, is in a standoff with DirecTV that could lead to the pay-TV provider dropping the outlet.

Newsmax and DirecTV have been in talks about a new carrier contract to keep the channel available to 13.5 million subscribers, with a deadline set for Wednesday midnight Eastern time. If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the channel will be removed from DirecTV services.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based operation is seeking cash compensation in its new agreement. DirecTV doesn’t pay a fee to carry Newsmax, unlike its deal with more established news channels like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

DirecTV resists the demand for transportation fees, the costs of which are often passed on to the consumer. Like all pay TV providers, DirecTV is facing a shrinking customer base as more people forgo traditional TV subscriptions for streaming services. Cost is often a consideration when cutting cable.

DirecTV doesn’t plan to budge on its no-compensation stance, largely because Newsmax programming is available for free as a streaming app and ad-supported free TV streaming channel run by Roku, Pluto TV and others. platforms. All three major cable news channels require a pay TV subscription to view live.

“We have discussed with Newsmax on several occasions that we would like to offer their programming, however the network is now seeking significant fees that we would need to pass on to our broad customer base,” the company said in a statement. “In addition, the same programming that Newsmax offers today is now available free of charge to 100% of US households, including our customers.”

DirecTV would continue to offer Newsmax under the current agreement.

Newsmax would not comment on the negotiations, but according to people familiar with the discussions, the network is apparently willing to discontinue free streaming once pay-TV operators agree to pay a carrier fee.

“We expect DirecTV and its majority owner, AT&T, to treat Newsmax fairly and equitably in relation to all the channels it carries, especially after both companies removed the OAN platform last year,” a company representative said in a statement. a statement. declaration.

DirecTV was in a similar battle with San Diego-based right-wing outlet One America News, which was dropped earlier this year due to poor viewership.

Newsmax has turned to its right-wing supporters on Capitol Hill for help. A letter from Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas), co-signed by several dozen other Republican lawmakers, suggested DirecTV’s actions are aimed at shutting down conservative voices while continuing to carry low-rated left-leaning channels. The letter cites Vice, which is not a news channel, as an example.

“If Newsmax is removed from DirecTV, in less than a year, House Republicans will have lost two of the three cable news channels that reach conservative voters on a platform that primarily serves conservative-leaning areas of the country. ”, the letter says.

In a response to Hunt, DirecTV said it is willing to continue offering Newsmax under the current agreement, giving the network a distribution platform that allows it to sell national advertising. DirecTV gives Newsmax an additional two minutes to sell per hour that would otherwise be used for local advertising.

Newsmax reaches around 50 million Pay TV households.

Launched in 2014, Newsmax became a conservative channel that flanked Fox News on the political right. The outlet saw its ratings rise significantly in late 2020, when Trump expressed his displeasure with Fox News after he called the state of Arizona for President Biden on election night.

Newsmax’s ratings dipped at the end of 2021, but the channel still sees major spikes when airing Trump’s rallies and speeches. More recently, it averaged 125,000 prime-time viewers according to Nielsen data, a fraction of the television audiences of Fox News, MSNBC or CNN.

The channel employs several former Fox News anchors and correspondents, including Eric Bolling, who was fired by the Rupert Murdoch-owned network after an investigation into allegations the anchor sent unsolicited photos of male genitalia to current female colleagues and previous.

Sean Spicer, a former press secretary in the Trump White House, also has a daily show, and the network recently added Greta Van Susteran, a veteran of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

While Newsmax hosts are highly critical of the Biden White House and the Democratic Party, the channel has backed public health efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration’s support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion. .

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