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Recent reports that DIRECTV was dropping one of former President Donald Trump’s favorite news channels, One America News Network (OANN) caused host Dan Ball to appeal to viewers to heat up AT&T phone lines with complaints. “What’s happening is a direct attack on free speech and freedom of the press. And what’s being done to us at this network is 110 percent politically driven and motivated, period,” said Ball.
The pleas for viewer complaints are too little, too late. DIRECTV has already made its decision and moved on and other multichannel operators appear to be coming to the realization that Trump-related news was no longer on the top of viewers minds.
It’s been reported that Newsmax TV, another right wing news channel favored by former President Donald Trump, has been dropped by Atlantic Broadband, Blue Ridge Communications Cincinnati Bell and Hargray Communications (now a division of Cable One).
However, a Newsmax spokesperson said the company is currently negotiating with the NCTC, a cooperative of cable channels, and believes “the result will be positive.”
The number of subscribers lost, 150K out of 54 million is just a drop in the bucket. However, if other large cable and satellite operators follow suit, it could be problematic for Newsmax TV. A spokesman for Newsmax TV notes that the channel has not seen any significant operator indicating that they want to drop the network.
“Despite our high ratings with personalities like Greg Kelly, Eric Bolling, Sean Spicer, Lyndsay Keith, Dick Morris, Alan Dershowitz, and more — it is clear that Blue Ridge doesn’t like Newsmax’s point of view,” Newsmax said in a statement. They note that they ranked 18th in Nielsen Media Research’s tracking of basic cable networks in viewership of adults in the 35-65 age group with incomes over $100K+ from M-F from 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
In fact, it seems like Newsmax’s distribution woes are more over money than political ideology. Historically, Newsmax did not charge multichannel operators a fee to carry its channel. Partially due to that reason, the channel has gotten significant distribution, but it has lost money in each of its last seven years on the air (about $50 million in aggregate).
Management may have decided the only way to get the channel profitable going forward was to roll out a new carriage agreement contract which included an annual license fee per subscriber. “While we worked in good faith to negotiate a new agreement, Newsmax insisted on unreasonable terms and conditions that would have resulted in increased TV fees for all Atlantic Broadband customers even though Newsmax is available for free for other viewers,” Atlantic Broadband said in a statement.
Comcast, DIRECTV and DISH Network are still carrying Newsmax TV at this juncture. However, when those carriage agreements come up for renewal, it’s possible they may balk at paying a fee.
Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to correct the number of subscribers Newsmax has lost and include comments from Newsmax about its negotiations with the NCTC.
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