The other shoe appears ready to drop for One American News Network (OAN), which lost its biggest pay TV carriage provider, DirecTV, back in April.
The controversial far right cable network, known for its reporting of loony-tunes conspiracy theories and its avid support for former president Donald Trump's "Big Lie" about bogus 2020 election fraud, has a deal with its last major MVPD partner, Verizon Fios, that expires on July 30.
"Our negotiation with OAN has been a typical, business-as-usual carriage negotiation like those that routinely happen between content distributors and content providers. These negotiations were focused on economics, as they always are, but OAN failed to agree to fair terms," Verizon said in a statement emailed to Next TV Thursday.
"Since we were unable to reach an agreement, effective July 31, 2022, we will no longer have the rights to provide our customers with this programming, and it will be removed from the Fios TV lineup," Verizon added. "Our company has long advocated for providing customers with the ability to choose what content they want to watch, and our Fios TV platform offers a wide and diverse choice of programming options, including a la carte options, that strive to meet our millions of customers' various content needs and preferences."
Beyond Verizon Fios TV, which finished the first quarter with around 3.56 million remaining subscribers, One America News has carriage via Alaskan cable operator GCI and through small virtual MVPD Vidgo. These remaining outlets likely provide less than 200,000 subscribers combined, however.
OAN does deliver its programming through free live streaming service KlowdTV, and OAN is now selling itself via a live-streaming 24/7 direct-to-consumer app for $4.99 a month, $53.85 a year. Also, OAN has begun distributing itself as a digital sub-channel.
Last week, OAN announced that it's now available as a sub on WOSC-CD channel 61.8 in the Pittsburgh DMA.
"We have been incredibly encouraged by the momentum that our OAN Plus channel is building in broadcast and we continue to hear that the significance and relevance of the OAN brand is valuable" said Alex Kopacz, executive VP of content distribution and strategy at OAN. "We recognize the growth of broadcast OTA viewership and adding a new top-25 DMA like Pittsburgh will further accelerate our ongoing broadcast strategy."
Can OAN sell enough advertising as a sub channel, and enough $4.99 DTC subscriptions, to make up for the loss of tens of millions of pay TV homes?
A number of OAN talents have recently bolted the programmer for rival far-right channel Newsmax. And more than a whiff of desperation seems to be permeating Herring's San Diego headquarters.
This was in full effect in June, when Robert Herring tweeted a rumor about Elon Musk swooping in and buying his channel -- a rumor Musk immediately shot down.
After DirecTV's majority owner, AT&T, announced in January that it wouldn't renew its deal with OAN, One America News personality Dan Ball urged viewers to dig up dirt on AT&T Chairman Bill Kennard, "whatever it is."
Trump, meanwhile, called AT&T -- a publicly traded company based in what is a decidedly red state, which contributed to his election campaign and staunchly supported his 2017 corporate tax break -- "left-wing lunatics who are destroying our nation."
AT&T's juxtaposition to OAN, however, is far different than Verizon's, with AT&T having a ground-floor role in launching the channel. ■
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!
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