DirecTV and Newsmax have reached a new multi-year deal that will bring the conservative channel back to some 13 million customers this week.
The deal marks the end of a protracted and bitter PR battle between the two companies that hinged on carrier fees, with Newsmax leadership repeatedly accusing the cable provider of political bias.
“Newsmax recognizes and appreciates that DirecTV clearly supports diverse voices, including conservative ones,” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said in a statement honoring the agreement. “As a standalone company, DirecTV helped get Newsmax off the ground nearly a decade ago, as it continues to do with emerging news networks. Therefore, we are pleased to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that will provide our network to DirecTV, DirecTV STREAM and U-verse customers for years to come.”
The initial disagreement between the two companies hinged on the provider’s rates, which dictated under the previous deal that DirecTV would pay Newsmax nothing to carry the conservative channel. DirecTV said Wednesday that the new deal with Newsmax would not incur additional costs to its subscribers, suggesting that Newsmax failed to meet its demand for rate increases, though terms of the deal were not disclosed by either party.
Yet Ruddy and top Newsmax hosts accused the cable provider of political censorship, sparking a wave of condemnations from House Republicans.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested at one point earlier this year that he wouldn’t rule out holding congressional hearings on DirecTV’s decision to drop Newsmax, which has an audience share dwarfed by other leading cable news channels.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — who wrote to DirecTV asking for an explanation for dropping Newsmax, suggesting political bias was a factor — applauded the two sides working out a deal .
“Having Newsmax back on the air is a victory for free speech over powerful corporations that want to put their thumbs on the scale of the national conversation,” Cruz said. “This outcome speaks to the power of citizens and their elected representatives working to stop viewpoint discrimination.”
Bill Morrow, CEO of DirecTV, tried to cast the disagreement as routine in a statement Wednesday.
“This solution with Newsmax, which resolves an all-too-common transportation dispute, underscores our commitment to providing our customers with a broad range of programs and perspectives,” Morrow wrote.
“Through our ongoing negotiations, we have reached a solution on mutually acceptable business terms that will allow us to provide the conservative news network at the right value – a reflection of the free market at work,” he added.
Updated: 12:18 PM
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