How can Newsmax return to DirecTV?

If you can even believe it, there’s still a possible—and we’d argue likely—solution to the ugliest freight contract in recent memory.

Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury this is not his (supposedly) dirtiest fight of 2023. This title belt was won by DirecTV Vs. You get Newsmax TV.

Some quick background: After failing to agree on a new carriage contract, DirecTV and Newsmax TV parted ways in late January. When it launched nearly a decade ago, DirecTV, one of the first pay TV services to carry Newsmax, replaced it with a new right-wing cable news channel, The First.

Negotiations between DirecTV and Newsmax continued, with the dispute devolving into accusations of greed, politics and even anti-Semitism. Like we said, bad.

But incredibly, it’s still doable. DirecTV still prefers to bring back Newsmax TV. And on Friday, as part of a statement shared with IndieWire, Newsmax said, “We are pleased that DirecTV is open to relaunching Newsmax. We hope that both parties can find a mutually acceptable solution to this end.”

In the meantime, it’s been pretty ugly — especially considering the bones of this argument aren’t anything exciting. This is the kind of thing that can and often does happen at the local station level. When it comes to news shows, things get complicated.

The media site arms its news team with a “The bad guy is about to take us down” narrative. And since this appears as news (let’s decide if Newsmax reports it news), capable viewers often buy. Local market controversies are sometimes not enough to garner national media attention, but there is plenty to be had – all the way to Congress.

Newsmax’s status as a respected news agency makes it impossible for DirecTV to match the chip. The satellite television company continues to say it would prefer to get Newsmax TV back — just at the right pace. (And that’s DirecTV’s decision, an insider told us, not a corporate AT&T call.)

Jake Paul vs.  Tommy Fury in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia didn’t air DirecTV like Newsmax does now

Getty Images

Through your website, DirecTV argues that while Newsmax publicly says it wants $1 per DirecTV subscriber, they actually want more. Even with an estimated 13 million subscribers (DirecTV doesn’t provide a number, but they didn’t dispute the previously reported estimate), that would amount to $13 million a year over several years.

Newsmax, which didn’t want to get into the dollars and cents here, would probably say that the summation of DirecTV’s financial situation is greatly exaggerated. Well, Newsmax would know a thing or two about exaggeration. In an effort to prove DirecTV’s accusation of liberal media bias, Newsmax even listed The Weather Channel (?!) as one of the left-leaning cable news stations that DirecTV offers—and compensates for. (By the way, DirecTV offers the conservative-favorite Fox News Channel in addition to left-leaning MSNBC and CNN. It dropped the pro-Trump OAN in 2022.)

Newsmax’s political defense, its calls to action, and even its language have been quietly downgraded over the past month. This is a sign that we are getting close to business. To relaunch Newsmax on DirecTV, you must go through DirecTV’s normal channel launch process, they said. Before it takes off, DirecTV must decide whether Newsmax TV will get its old slot, Channel 349, now occupied by The First. First is actually also available on an open channel, 347, where it could potentially remain if Newsmax TV returns.

If Newsmax does return, it may not be with DirecTV’s original offering. Whether this is justified or a punishment is in the eye of the beholder. It’s true that costs continue to rise as time goes on, but Newsmax’s rhetoric and cancellation calls likely cost the satellite TV provider more than some subscribers — at a time when satellite TV subscribers are hard to come by. Perhaps a post-deal penalty is in order, especially if there is further churn from those who previously ignored Newsmax TV but now notice (and disagree) that DirecTV is bringing it back.

Either way, if and when they do reconcile, don’t expect any more barba from Newsmax. Contracts often contain protection language for both parties; the DirecTV and Newsmax PR teams will line up with civilized guidelines. After all, we still live in one society – despite what they report on Newsmax.

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