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Why Would DIRECTV Carry the Scientology Channel?

Tilted view of satellite dish on white multi-story house --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Q. I just read that DIRECTV will carry the new Scientology channel when it starts tonight. Why on earth would DIRECTV carry that thing instead of Epix and SportsNet LA? — Roger, Manhattan Beach, California. 

Roger, you are right that DIRECTV will carry Scientology TV, the new channel from the controversial religious group. The channel debuts tonight at 8 p.m. ET, although the organization has not revealed what will be in its lineup.

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However, one thing that has been disclosed is a bit unexpected: DIRECTV’s online programming guide says the channel will air in High-Definition.

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Now to your question, which is an interesting one, and one that I’m sure is on the minds of many observers of the satellite TV business.

AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, has made it abundantly clear that it’s not interested in adding new channels unless it makes financial sense to do so. Consequently, DIRECTV is still missing SportsNet LA, Epix and the Pac 12 Network, all channels that would be greatly welcomed by the satcaster’s audience, but are charging more than AT&T wants to pay.

So why would DIRECTV add Scientology TV which will likely upset many of its customers who have read reports the church has allegedly afflicted numerous physical, financial and psychological abuses on its members?


AT&T and DIRECTV will not comment on the terms of carriage negotiations, but the satcaster has a dirty little secret: Sometimes it doesn’t pay to carry the channel. Instead, the channel pays it.

For example, Newsmax, the conservative news channel, has openly admitted that it pays DIRECTV for its channel slot. The network is happy to pay to be in DIRECTV’s 21 million homes, an audience it otherwise would never be able to reach.

Newsmax isn’t the only pay-to-play channel in DIRECTV’s lineup. While it hasn’t been publicly confirmed, Russia Today is another one. How else would the network that’s considered an arm of the Russian government find a spot in the lineup of America’s largest satellite TV service?

Neither Scientology or AT&T have commented on the DIRECTV launch (other than to confirm it will happen), but the odds are overwhelming that the well-heeled religious group is paying a pretty penny to be in the satcaster’s lineup.

So, Roger, AT&T executives may or may not like Scientology’s philosophy, but I’m fairly confident that they like their money.

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

9 Comments on Why Would DIRECTV Carry the Scientology Channel?

  1. Any estimate about how pretty a penny they are paying?

  2. Todd Mitchell // March 12, 2018 at 7:10 pm // Reply

    Direct TV is just as money hungry as the cult Scientology. I ban anything and anybody that has anything to do with that,corporation/cult. They are in no way a religion ,

  3. If people want to get sucked into an organization run by the devil, it is their choice. I pray they come to their senses before their lives and families are shattered. Maybe belonging to a robotic, socialist, brain washing machine is better than what they have now. God only knows.

  4. They pulled Chiller, make you pay for HD extra channels, cant support U4K…I’m pulling the plug on them and using an outside HD antenna and a firestick. why pay over 100.00 a month for poor service and lousy reception.

  5. If DirecTV does not follow Scientology Channel I will quit subscribing to DirecTV. We will also remove AT&T as are major provider. We will also encourage all of our family and friends to do so as well. This includes a great number of people.

  6. Frank Katz // April 2, 2018 at 9:24 pm // Reply

    When I move next month I will not confuse with Direct TV. Have been with them over 10 years at $200/ month, but carrying Scientology station made my de ion easy

  7. WHAT THE ACTUAL F***?!? SERIOUSLY AT&T?!? Advertise a frikken CULT!! Cause they pay you, uh hu & why do they have to pay? I for one know how assinine scientology is, but some others don’t. LOW AT&T, low and i didn’t think it was possible to loathe you more

  8. Ok direct tv, I have been a customer for nearly a decade but you show soldiers that are dying from drugs not war and they have a channel now? As a loyal customer goodbye

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