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One America News Network Sues DirecTV Over Being Dropped From Lineup

Lauren Forristal

It would appear that the breakup between One America News Network and DirecTV just got more dramatic. OAN has officially filed a lawsuit against the programming distributor, along with AT&T and AT&T’s chairman, for silencing their ultra-conservative channel. In January 2022, DirecTV and DIRECTV STREAM announced they would no longer carry OAN after the current contract expires in April 2022. So just like any angry divorcee would do, OAN is going to throw a fit about it.

OAN’s lawsuit was filed on March 7 by Herring Networks in a San Diego state court. The lawsuit seeks $1 billion in damages from DirecTV and its majority owner, AT&T. Lawyers for OAN said the two media companies used “unchecked influence and power” to “unlawfully destroy an independent, family-run business and impede the right of American television viewers to watch the news media channels and programs of their choice.”

The legal argument the One America News Network is presenting is apparently rooted in its right to reach an audience with its programming and messaging. OAN also alleges that DirecTV is participating in what it calls a “larger, coordinated, extremely well-financed political scheme to take down (OAN CEO Robert) Herring and unlawfully destroy its ability to operate in the media business.”

It also claims that OAN’s programming is “designed to have broad appeal with special interest to viewers interested in independent and conservative political thought.”

AT&T responded, saying, “These allegations are completely without merit.” DirecTV called the lawsuit “baseless” and said it was “confident that we have fully complied both with the law and our agreement.”

On March 10, 2022, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote to DirecTV asking the company to reconsider its contract.

Undoubtedly the move will hit OAN hard since DirecTV was the only major national cable or satellite provider to carry the network. Court records show that about 90% of OAN’s revenue is generated from its AT&T/DirecTV deals. NextTV predicts that without DirecTV, OAN would have less than 5 million U.S. pay-TV subscribers.

In the lawsuit, Herring claims that OAN ranks in the top 10% of DirecTV programming, ahead of CNBC, Newsmax, and CNN Headline News. However, this claim cannot be verified.

According to Reuters, a source familiar with the contract said that a previous advertising agreement between OAN and DirecTV will continue until at least 2024. While OAN will still be able to use DirecTV’s reach to its benefit in some capacity for two years or so, OAN’s desperate lawsuit is a sign it knows just how much it needed DirecTV for its business to succeed.

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