TV Answer Man, is there anything new with Newsmax and DIRECTV. We really miss the channel because it has the news we believe in and we want it on DIRECTV, not some streaming thing!! — Sandy, Reno, Nevada.
Sandy, DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream and U-verse all lost Newsmax on January 24 when the companies could not reach a new carriage agreement. Newsmax claims that DIRECTV is exhibiting liberal bias, but the TV provider says the conservative news channel is simply asking for too much money to carry it. (You can read more about the dispute here.)
Since the blackout began, Newsmax defenders, particularly U.S. House Republicans, have blasted DIRECTV, saying the company is ‘censoring’ conservative viewpoints. They point out that DIRECTV also dropped OAN, another right-wing news outlet, a year ago.
DIRECTV has countered by replacing Newsmax with another conservative news/information channel, called The First, and placing it in the same channel slot (channel 349). But the Republican cries for congressional hearings into the dispute may have triggered DIRECTV to issue a new statement on Sunday that reiterated it would welcome Newsmax back if the financial terms were right.
“DIRECTV aims to deliver the best, widest range of news, sports, and entertainment programming at a fair price. We regularly engage in negotiations with content providers and work hard to protect our customers from unfair price inflation,” the statement reads at DIRECTV.com/TVPromise, a web page it has established to communicate news on carriage fights. “Our differences with Newsmax are economic, not political or ideological. Newsmax made unreasonable demands that would force DIRECTV customers to fund the network’s shift from a free nationwide streaming service to one that will require a pay TV subscription.
The statement continues: “Since we would not agree to Newsmax’s demand to pay them tens of millions of dollars in licensing fees, DIRECTV was no longer permitted by Newsmax to air its content. DIRECTV is disappointed by Newsmax’s position. We prefer Newsmax had never left and remain interested in bringing Newsmax back under the right financial terms.”
It’s doubtful the statement will appease critics of the Newsmax exit, but it’s still unclear how far Republicans will take this fight in Congress. Considering that DIRECTV’s position seems to have gone unchanged since the blackout began, it’s also unclear if this fee fight will ever end.
Sandy, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann