DirecTV dropped Newsmax instead of paying a new fee, drawing Republican ire

Newsmax is no longer on DirecTV, as the satellite video provider said today it has decided not to renew an expiring contract due to Newsmax’s monetary demands.

“We have made it clear to Newsmax on several occasions that we would like to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax’s requests for rate increases would result in significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broader customer base,” DirecTV told Ars in a statement. . (AT&T owns 70 percent of DirecTV.)

The wagon contract expired at midnight yesterday. A DirecTV spokesperson told Ars that the “rate increase” requested by Newsmax was actually from a $0 base because DirecTV no longer had to pay Newsmax to carry the network under an expired contract. DirecTV said it was one of the first pay TV providers to carry Newsmax starting in 2014.

While DirecTV described it as a financial decision, Newsmax accused DirecTV of discrimination and censorship. “This is a clear act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax,” said Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy in an article on the Newsmax website titled “AT&T’s DirecTV Drops Newsmax in Censorship Move.”

Republican lawmakers are expressing their anger

DirecTV previously dropped One America News when its contract with that network expires in April 2022. “The most extreme liberal channels get paid on AT&T’s DirecTV, even if they have small ratings, but Newsmax and OAN need to be pulled from the platform,” Ruddy said.

OAN sued DirecTV, but lost a major ruling when a California judge said its contract with DirecTV was not eligible for renewal. The failure to renew OAN and Newsmax was met with outrage by Republican lawmakers.

Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and 41 other Republican members of Congress sent a letter last week to the CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV, claiming that DirecTV is “actively working to limit conservative views on its system.” The letter suggested the Newsmax decision was part of what Republicans called an “undemocratic attack on free speech” orchestrated by Democrats in Congress and the White House in coordination with private companies.

The Republicans’ letter asks DirecTV to provide information on the viewership ratings of Newsmax and liberal news channels and “relevant fees your company pays to these networks.”

DirecTV responded with a letter to lawmakers on Monday. “Newsmax’s average home audience is only 101,000 households,” DirecTV said, citing Nielsen data. [nationwide], accounting for less than 0.1 percent of total TV households. That’s 92 percent lower than Fox News. If Newsmax does not allow its channels to be carried, our customers will still have access to Fox News, the conservative news channel they clearly prefer, which has more viewers than MSNBC, CNN and Newsmax.”

Newsmax is ending its free broadcast

DirecTV also said Newsmax is “distributed online for free on popular broadcast platforms, including to viewers without a pay TV subscription.”

“Newsmax is proposing to change that model,” DirecTV told Republicans. “In fact, he has stated that if DirecTV and other Pay TV operators pay him what he wants, then he will stop carrying his current channel to the 55 million US homes without Pay TV service. In other words, unless 55 million US households get a Pay TV subscription , they won’t be able to access Newsmax in its current form. Based on this change in model, who is doing the de-platforming? Certainly not DirecTV.”

A Newsmax article accusing DirecTV of censorship confirms that until recently no television provider was willing to pay for the channel. He said:

DirecTV falsely claimed to media outlets that Newsmax was charging, but still wanted to keep free-to-air broadcasts on OTT platforms (an over-the-top service is a type of service offered directly to viewers). But this is a lie; While Newsmax is free-to-air, no carrier pays a fee, and DirecTV knew full well that free-to-air would end this year.

Newsmax said it was able to negotiate a “modest fee” with three cable providers last year and was “watched by 25 million Americans on cable alone.”

“DirecTV pays cable license fees for all 75 top cable channels and the 22 liberal news and information channels it carries,” Newsmax said. “Almost all of these channels are paid significantly higher license fees than Newsmax is seeking, and yet most of the channels have lower ratings than Newsmax.”

Newsmax urged viewers to “contact members of Congress and senators to oppose censorship of Newsmax and demand support for justice and equality for conservative media.”

In February 2021, U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) questioned DirecTV owner AT&T and other TV providers on why they carry OAN, Newsmax, and Fox News.

“While a violent mob broke down the doors of the Capitol [during the January 6 attack]The Newsmax report called the scene “some kind of romantic idea,” the Eshoo/McNerney letter said. It also says that “Newsmax boosted allegations that members of the Chinese Communist Party helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Source link