DirecTV cancels Newsmax over fee in what network calls 'blatant act of political discrimination'
Three major cable companies renewed contracts with the conservative network and agreed to a fee, but DirecTV would not, Newsmax said.
DirecTV cut Newsmax from its channel lineup rather than paying a licensing fee, despite reportedly paying fees to all 75 top cable channels, in what the CEO of the network says is a "blatant act of political discrimination and censorship."
DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T, said the move is a "cost-cutting" measure and that the company will never pay Newsmax a fee for cable licensing, Newsmax reported Wednesday, citing Nielsen Media Research.
"This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax," the network's CEO, Christopher Ruddy, said.
With more views than networks such as the Disney Channel, Fox Business and the Weather Channel, Newsmax tied with the Science Channel as the 72nd most-watched television network in 2022, according to Nielsen.
Newsmax previously had not asked for fees and offered free streaming, but that service is ending this year, the outlet said. Three major cable companies renewed contracts with the conservative network and agreed to a fee. Newsmax said its requested fee offered to DirecTV is 75% below market value and that nearly all 50 channels below the network in terms of viewership are paid higher fees.
DirecTV dropped the conservative network, One America News, last year.
"We've discussed with Newsmax on several occasions that we'd like to offer their programming, however, the network is now seeking significant fees that we cannot pass on to our broad customer base," a DirecTV spokesperson said.
Conservatives voiced outrage online over DirecTV's decision.
Former Acting National Intelligence Director Richard Grenell tweeted: "Call Direct TV Customer Service and tell them you will switch providers if they don't include Newsmax."
Students for Trump Founder Ryan Fournier called for a congressional investigation of the matter. "House Republicans can't let this stand! They must investigate this corruption!" he tweeted.