OAN Will Have Less Than 5 Million Remaining Pay TV Subscribers Following DirecTV Ouster
We just did the math. With the dwindling Verizon Fios TV base becoming its largest distributor, controversial far right network is reaching only a small fraction of pay TV homes
It was well understood last week that One America News (OAN), one of the most controversial channels on the American pay TV programming grid, will face a distribution crisis in April, when the far right informational channel is pulled from DirecTV.
More closely examining OAN's remaining carriage and associated economics reveals the true existential gravity of the channel's situation -- by our estimates, OAN will have less than 5 million remaining U.S. pay TV subscribers left once its current deal with its largest distributor, DirecTV, expires.
On its website, OAN (also referred to as "OANN") lists remaining carriage on Verizon Fios, which had just over 3.7 million subscribers as of the end of September. OAN is still distributed on CenturyLink's Prism video system, which had less than 300,000 customers when the operator opted to stop growing the enterprise back in 2018.
OAN also has carriage on Alaska's General Communications Inc., which had just under 103,000 video customers when it was purchased by Liberty Interactive in 2017.
Also read: DirecTV's OAN Decision Costs It a Customer: Rand Paul
In terms of more digitally oriented carriage, OAN is licensed by upstart virtual MVPD Vidgo, which touted 25,000 subscribers as of February of last year.
Notably, San Diego-based Herring Networks, which operates OAN and A Wealth of Entertainment, has a digital iteration of OAN called "OAN Plus" situated on KlowdTV, a FAST platform for "conservative voices." Most of OAN's key on-air personalities, including Dan Ball, have shows carried by OAN Plus on KlowdTV, which is free to view on most major OTT platforms and the open internet.
Of course, none of this matches the weight of DirecTV, which had around 15 million subscribers when AT&T last summer spun off the pay TV enterprise into a joint venture with private equity firm TPG. AT&T still owns 70% of that JV.
Also read: OAN Host Dan Ball Declares War on AT&T and DirecTV
Discounting whatever it makes on KlowdTV, as well as a few far-flung distribution platforms, such as Base TV, which serves Ramstein Air Base in Germany, OAN's remaining U.S. pay TV carriage yields monthly affiliate revenue of only around $550,000 a month, according to licensing fee estimates provided to us by a pay TV distribution executive.
Last week, DirecTV issued a terse statement, announcing its decision not to renew its distribution deal with Herring for both OAN and A World of Wealth.
The decision came following criticism of AT&T, which as Reuters detailed in October, played a foundational role in the launch of One America News. The channel, in turn, has come under intense scrutiny for its staunch support of former president Donald Trump's "Big Lie" -- the false narrative that Trump's loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election was determined by cheating.
More broadly, media pundits view OAN as being on the vanguard of extreme right voices, one of the most vile and prolific fomenters of misinformation and division in American society.
“DirecTV made a negligent mistake in 2021 when they renewed their contract with OAN even after OAN spent weeks attacking the election and stoking the embers that helped fuel the January 6 insurrection. They gave OAN a full year to undermine our democracy -- and our country suffered for it," Media Matters said.
We asked reps for Verizon and Vidgo if their respective pay TV operations had any plans to cut ties with OAN, but neither immediately responded.
If DirecTV's pullout didn't represent existential threat enough to Herring, the company, along with fellow far right informational networks Fox News and Newsmax, are also being sued by several voting machine companies for libel, tied to the networks' Big Lie coverage.
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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!