DirecTV Stream subscribers have now officially lost Newsmax. The dropping of the news channels is part of a dispute over carriage fees and not only affects DirecTV Stream but also DirecTV and U-verse customers as well.
DirecTV Stream offers multiple plans for consumers to choose from and all of them vary in terms of the price and the number of channels. For example, while Entertainment costs $75 per month and provides access to more than 75 channels, Premier costs $150 and unlocks more than 150 channels. Newsmax was one of the channels available with all of DirecTV Stream’s plans, but that’s no longer the case.
Newmax was officially dropped from DirecTV Stream’s channel lineup just before midnight on Wednesday. As mentioned, the channel was not only dropped from the company’s streaming package but also from its DirecTV and U-verse services as well.
In explaining the decision, DirecTV says that this is just a matter of cost. In a statement on the company’s TV Promise page, DirecTV explains that Newsmax is “demanding significant fees we would have to pass on to our broad customer base.” Adding, “That is not an option.”
The full statement from DirecTV:
“We’ve always delivered Newsmax to our national base of satellite and IPTV customers at no cost to the programmer or our customers, ultimately offering Newsmax the ability to generate considerable advertising revenue at no cost.
We’ve made clear to Newsmax over the past several months that we’d like to continue offering their content, however, the network is now demanding significant fees we would have to pass on to our broad customer base. That is not an option.
Our customers can continue to watch for free via NewsmaxTV.com, YouTube.com and on multiple streaming platforms like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Google Play. We continually evaluate new content to provide to our customers, and given this situation, expect to introduce new programming of significant interest.”DirecTV
As is often the case with carriage disputes like this, Newsmax has a different take on the situation. In a recent article, Newsmax argues that the removal of the channel represents “a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax.”
It is worth noting that the Newsmax article does indeed confirm that it was seeking a licensing fee for the channel. So the focus of this carriage issue is not so much whether a fee was being disputed, but the reason why it was being disputed.
According to DirecTV, Newsmax was always offered as a free channel and so paying, and passing the cost to the customer, was not an option. According to Newsmax, DirecTV pays licensing fees to many news and information channels that “have much lower ratings” so it should also pay for its network.
Regardless of the reason behind the fee dispute, the end result is the same with DirecTV Stream subscribers now having lost access to Newsmax. Further, as this dispute is centered on whether a fee should be paid, and not the fee amount, it seems unlikely to be one that will be resolved anytime soon.