Breaking: DIRECTV, Newsmax Reach Deal to Return Conservative News Channel to Service
After a two-month carriage dispute, DIRECTV and Newsmax have reached an agreement to bring the conservative news channel back to the satellite platform. The channel will return to DIRECTV and the company’s live TV streaming service DIRECTV STREAM on Thursday, March 23.
The two sides had been locked in a contentious battle over DIRECTV’s decision to drop the channel in January after Newsmax demanded a carriage fee that the satellite and streaming company felt was too high. The issue drew widespread attention as the news channel and its political supporters claimed that DIRECTV made the decision based on political reasonings and threatened congressional investigations.
Now that the two sides have come to an agreement, presumably, the calls for hearings will cease.
“Newsmax recognizes and appreciates that DIRECTV clearly supports diverse voices, including conservative ones,” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said. “As a standalone company, DIRECTV helped give Newsmax its start nearly a decade ago as it continues to do with upcoming news networks, which is why we are pleased to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that will deliver our network to DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse customers over the next several years.”
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but the two companies’ joint statement did indicate that the channel would continue to be available to customers at no additional cost and would join CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NewsNation, and The First. The latter channel was added in the wake of Newsmax's removal as a similarly right-leaning option.
“This resolution with Newsmax, resolving an all-too-common carriage dispute, underscores our dedication to delivering a wide array of programming and perspectives to our customers,” DIRECTV CEO Bill Morrow said. “Through our persistent negotiations, we reached a resolution under mutually-agreeable business terms allowing us to deliver the conservative news network at the right value – a reflection of the free market at work.”
While carriage disputes are not unusual between cable, satellite, and streaming and content providers, this one appeared to be far more bitter than most. Both sides went on a public offensive in order to point blame at the other, including launching opposing websites. Newsmax made its dispute with DIRECTV a focal point of its programming and numerous Republican lawmakers came to the channel’s defense, claiming that DIRECTV was attempting to silence the channel’s conservative voices, despite also carrying Fox News and The First.
DIRECTV responded by indicating that the dispute had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with money. For the entirety of its existence, Newsmax had operated as a free ad-supported channel available on both cable and satellite services as well as on its website. However, the company has publicly stated that it is working towards a new business model and apparently DIRECTV bulked at its initial efforts to do so.
According to the company, re-signing with Newsmax under its stated initial terms would have meant that DIRECTV would have had to pay the channel “tens of millions of dollars”; undoubtedly, those costs would have had to be passed on to consumers. In January, DIRECTV STREAM increased its monthly fees to a base of $74.99. However, with the decision reached on Tuesday night, the channel returns at no extra cost to viewers.
DIRECTV STREAM is a live TV streaming service, which is essentially the streaming version of the DIRECTV service. All plans include local channels and at least 34 of the top 35 cable channels. New subscribers can get a free Gemini streaming device from the company, in which case the service is called “DIRECTV via Internet.”
DIRECTV STREAM starts at $74.99 / month for their Entertainment Plan. You can upgrade to their Choice Plan, which begins at $99.99 / month, that includes your local RSN and HBO Max for three months. They also have an Ultimate ($109.99) for 130 channels and Premier ($154.99) for 140 channels. In addition to not having a contract, there are no extra RSN fees or Broadcast TV fee.
The service includes an Unlimited DVR on all plans and unlimited simultaneous at-home streams.
The service was previously called AT&T TV.