Negotiations hit a standstill on Tuesday between DirecTV and conservative cable channel Newsmax, prompting the pay-TV provider to cut loose the pro-Trump network from its lineup.
On the surface, this should have been a typical cable package negotiation in an era of cord-cutting, shrinking subscription numbers, and reduced television revenues. Instead, it looks like it will become yet another salvo in the ongoing culture wars and partisan gripes fueling American politics and cable news.
“On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax’s demands for rate increases would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base,” a DirecTV spokesperson told The Daily Beast shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
“Anyone, including our customers, can watch the network for free via NewsmaxTV.com, YouTube.com, 2ndrun.tv, and on multiple streaming platforms like Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Google Play. We continually evaluate the most relevant programming to provide our customers and expect to fill this available channel with new content.”
Just before DirecTV dumped the network, Newsmax published a preemptive article bashing the provider over the likely “deplatforming.” Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy also accused DirecTV of lying to media outlets about the network demanding carriage fees for its free streamed content.
“That is simply false. DirecTV knows that no operator pays a fee while Newsmax streams free,” Ruddy said.
Following the cancellation, Ruddy called the move “a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax” while complaining that the carrier was paying other channels.
“The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T’s DirecTV, but Newsmax and OAN need to be deplatformed,” he proclaimed.
“AT&T DirecTV’s de-platforming of Newsmax is the second conservative channel to be cancelled in the past year,” the network said in a statement. “DirecTV believes Newsmax should receive ZERO cable fees, even though it is the 4 highest-rated cable news channel in the nation, according to Nielsen. Newsmax is also a top 16th ranked channel for all of cable in daytime.”
Newsmax also took an indirect shot at Fox News, the conservative cable giant it has attempted to pull viewers from over the past few years. “DirecTV carries 22 liberal or liberal-leaning channels, all of whom get fees. DirecTV believes only one conservative channel should get a fee,” the statement concluded.
DirecTV, a multichannel video programming distributor that currently boasts 13.5 million subscribers, has been locked in an impasse with Newsmax over the channel’s desire to receive carriage fees in a new deal. The current contract between the two companies expires at midnight on Wednesday.
The loss of DirecTV will take a huge chunk out of Newsmax’s current cable footprint, which currently sits at roughly 50 million households. (The network claims it is available in an additional 50 million homes via over-the-top and digital platforms.)
SOURCE: The Daily Beast
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