On January 25, a political brouhaha ensued after DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-verse dropped Newsmax.
Now, the companies have announced a multiyear renewal agreement that will bring Newsmax back to the platforms starting Thursday.
Although specific terms were not revealed, the press release states that Newsmax is rejoining DirecTV’s platforms to “stream at no additional cost to customers.”
This appears to signal that Newsmax did not succeed in getting the carriage fees that it was demanding — reportedly $1 per customer per year. Newsmax had not previously been receiving transmission fees from DirecTV, and DirecTV said that paying the fees demanded would force it to raise its subscriber rates, even though Newsmax did not deliver strong ratings.
Newsmax, which claimed that DirecTV was trying to suppress conservative voices, applied a variety of pressure tactics after the break. Its right-wing political supporters rallied to get it reinstated on DirecTV, with 40 Republican members of Congress threatening to hold hearings on the matter.
Both companies sought to downplay the dispute.
“This resolution with Newsmax, resolving an all-too-common carriage dispute, underscores our dedication to delivering a wide array of programming and perspectives to all our customers,” said Bill Morrow, DirecTV’s CEO, in a statement. “Through our persistent negotiations, we reached a resolution under mutually-agreeable business terms allowing us to deliver the conservative news network at the right value – a reflection of the free market at work.
“Newsmax recognizes and appreciates that DirecTV clearly supports diverse voices, including conservative ones,” said Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax. “As a standalone company, DirecTV gave Newsmax its start nearly a decade ago as it continues to do with upcoming news networks, which is why we are pleased to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that will deliver our network to DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-verse customers over the next several years.”
After Newsmax was dropped, DirecTV added a different conservative network, The First. It also carries Fox, CNN, MSNBC and NewsNation.
Several other pay-TV operators also dropped Newsmax last year, including Atlantic Broadband, Cincinnati Bell, Central Pennsylvania’s Blue Ridge Communications, and South Carolina-based, Cable One-owned Hargray Communications.
DirecTV, along with a number of other distributors, also stopped carrying the right-wing news network OAN in recent times, which also had low ratings. In January, a court ruled against OAN by upholding DirecTV's right to drop the network when their contract expired.