DirecTV to Resume Carriage of Newsmax

DirecTV installer truck
(Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Following one of the louder pay TV carriage disputes in recent memory, Newsmax is set to return to DirecTV’s linear and streaming platforms Thursday, seemingly without getting a core demand that the far-right channel fought ruthlessly for nearly two months to secure.

In announcing the multi-year carriage deal, DirecTV said Newsmax will return to DirecTV satellite TV and Stream (channel 349) and U-verse TV (channel 1220) “at no additional cost to customers” after being removed from these platforms on January 25.

Neither DirecTV or Newsmax disclosed terms of the deal, but DirecTV’s language implies Newsmax wasn’t able to secure the guaranteed carriage fee of around $1 per customer per year it had demanded.

Previously, DirecTV carried Newsmax based on an advertising revenue-share arrangement, with no actual licensing fee, and it appears that kind of deal is still in place going forward. 

UPDATED: Expressing on a personal level Newsmax's displeasure over Next TV's informed analysis of the business arrangement with DirecTV, a spokesman for the channel released this statement late Wednesday afternoon: “This report again demonstrates that Daniel Frankel continues his leftwing bias against Newsmax by making false claims about us and our carriage agreement with DirecTV.”

No further info was provided as to what is specifically "false" about our report.

For Newsmax, failing to gain a carriage fee didn't result from a lack of trying. 

Also read: Newsmax Tells Congress DirecTV Discriminates Against Conservatives

The channel, founded and led by Chris Ruddy, a veteran conservative media figure described by Politico as a friend and ally of former President Donald Trump, sought and successfully secured advocacy from numerous ranking members of the newly installed GOP House leadership. 

A cacophony of conservative voices decried DirecTV's alleged "censorship" of conservative voices. This culminated in a declaration last month by House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), who called for an investigation of the pay TV operator. 

Meanwhile, trying to play up the persecution factor, Newsmax called out all of the ”liberal news“ channels that were getting paid either carriage or retrans fees by DirecTV, a group that included ABC, CBS and NBC — all broadcasters, sworn to uphold the broad public interest by the FCC, and each owned by a Wall Street company. Newsmax even referred to The Weather Channel as being lefty. 

In the end, after nearly a full two-month silly season, DirecTV had stood by its guns — it was, in the words of DirecTV CEO Bill Morrow summing up the fiasco, simply an “all-too-common carriage dispute.” 

DirecTV, which is losing up to half a million customers each quarter, is trying to cut content cost, not pay increases, especially for niche channels that draw 100,000 viewers in prime time on their best days. 

Also read: DirecTV Tells Republicans: It’s ‘Economics, Not Ideology’

And perhaps sensing that House GOP leaders had moved on to the next outrage, Ruddy returned to the bargaining table. 

“Newsmax recognizes and appreciates that DirecTV clearly supports diverse voices, including conservative ones,” he said in a statement. “As a standalone company, DirecTV helped give 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.” ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!