Newsmax Says It Expects ‘Fair’ Treatment from DirecTV

A general view as the DirecTV Blimp Makes Its First Trip Out West at San Bernardino Airport on October 3, 2014 in San Bernardino, California.
(Image credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for DirecTV)

Facing being dropped by DirecTV, Newsmax said it expects fair treatment from the satellite company.

“While we cannot comment on negotiations, we expect DirecTV, and its majority owner AT&T, to treat Newsmax on a fair and equitable basis in relation to all of the channels it carries, especially after both companies de-platformed OAN last year,” the network said in a statement.

DirecTV said it might drop Newsmax because the conservative news channel is seeking a “significant fee” to be carried. Up till now, Newsmax provided its signal to carriers for free, using extensive distribution to generate ad revenues.

Newsmax could be dropped as early as 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night.

Newmax currently makes its channel available free to viewers on its website and YouTube and through streaming platforms including Amazon Fire and Roku.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Newsmax would stop the free feed if its gets carriage fees from the cable and satellite operators that carry it.

Newsmax is also planning to launch a free ad supported streaming TV channel called Newsmax2 that would carry news headlines and be a different product from the Newsmax available via pay TV. 

The possibility that DirecTV could drop Newsmax after dropping another conservative network One America News Network last year, has raised concerns among Republican lawmakers.

Freshman Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) wrote a letter to DirecTV and its owners seeking information about the situation. The letter was cosigned by more than 40 other members of Congress.

“Taken together, these two actions lead us to believe that DirecTV, one of the nation’s largest multichannel video programming distributors, is actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system,” the letter said. “This is extremely concerning for Members of Congress because it suppresses political discourse and hamstrings our ability to connect with our constituents.”

If Newsmax is dropped, following the removal of OAN, the letter said “Congress intends to conduct extensive oversight on the extent to which House Democrats and officials in federal offices colluded with private companies to limit, restrict, and circumvent First Amendment rights. These investigations will not be limited to social media companies.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.