Newsmax Quietly Dropped by Atlantic Broadband, Cincinnati Bell, Other Cable Operators
Conservative channel's carriage issues emerge as rival OAN faces pay TV oblivion
While the focus has been on its conservative programming rival One America News and its recent carriage struggles, Newsmax has also quietly lost distribution on a number of pay TV systems in recent weeks.
Since Dec. 31, Newsmax has been pulled off the pay TV grids of cable operators including Atlantic Broadband, Cincinnati Bell, South Carolina's Hargray Communications (now owned by Cable One) and Central Pennsylvania's Blue Ridge Communications. And these are just the cable systems that have dropped Newsmax that we know about.
It's unclear as to whether the carriage disruptions are part of an expiration of a master carriage deal Newsmax originally signed back in 2015 with the National Cable TV Cooperative (NCTC), which counts most, if not all, of the aforementioned cable companies as members. NCTC negotiates carriage agreements for around 700 member companies.
Reps for Newsmax and NCTC didn't immediately respond to our inquires.
Also read: OAN Will Have Less Than 5 Million Remaining Pay TV Subscribers Following DirecTV Ouster
As OAN has with its upcoming ouster from DirecTV, New York-based Newsmax has attributed its recent blackout troubles to "censorship" of conservative voices.
"Despite our high ratings with personalities like Greg Kelly, Eric Bolling, Sean Spicer, Lyndsay Keith, Dick Morris, Alan Dershowitz, and more — it is clear that Blue Ridge doesn’t like Newsmax’s point of view," Newsmax said in a boilerplate statement released Monday intended to decry its concurrent loss of carriage on Hargray systems.
The cable operators, meanwhile, frame the issue in standard carriage war terms -- it's just business.
"While we worked in good faith to negotiate a new agreement, Newsmax insisted on unreasonable terms and conditions that would have resulted in increased TV fees for all Atlantic Broadband customers even though Newsmax is available for free for other viewers," Atlantic Broadband said in a statement. "This is unfair to Atlantic Broadband customers, including those who enjoy the channel. Because we could not reach a new agreement, the channel is no longer offered on our lineup.”
As its conservative informational rivals Fox News and OAN have, Newsmax has been accused of backing former president Donald Trump's "Big Lie," and fomenting all the associated trouble that has come with that, including the January 6, 2021 Insurrection and attack on the U.S. democracy.
Progressives and media watchdog groups have urged pay TV operators to drop channels including Newsmax that have supported a profoundly dangerous narrative not underpinned by facts.
Whether Newsmax is facing a rash of garden-variety program licensing disputes or has a far more serious problem whereby pay TV companies are no longer interested in licensing its channel, regardless of the price, for purposes of political baggage is hard to publicly know.
At this point, it's safe to say that Newsmax's pay TV distribution is in far better shape than that of OAN, which touts Verizon Fios as its only remaining significant distributor.
For example, both U.S. satellite TV companies, DirecTV and Dish Network, still include Newsmax in their base tiers.
Recently rebranded as "Breezeline, Atlantic Broadband operates in 18 states and just touted around 360,000 pay TV customers as of the end of the third quarter -- which is probably more than Cincinnati Bell, Hargray and Blue Ridge have combined.
Yet, if the issue with these distributors is what Newsmax has publicly said it is -- these cable operators simply don't like the channel's "point of view" -- that number will soon grow.
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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!