Satellite pay-television service DirecTV will drop One America News Network (OAN) when the right-wing channel’s current carriage deal expires, likely a critical hit to OAN’s viewership and finances.
About 90% of the right-wing network’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T’s TV platforms including DirecTV and U-verse, Reuters reported in October 2021, citing sworn 2020 testimony by an OAN accountant. DirecTV is the network’s largest distributor, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“We informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires,” DirecTV said in a statement to USA TODAY.
A DirecTV spokesman would not say when OAN parent Herring Networks’ contract with DirecTV expires. But Bloomberg, which first reported on DirecTV’s plan to drop OAN, said the contract ends in early April.
OAN will also be dropped from DirecTV Stream, the live TV subscription service launched as AT&T TV in 2020.
Winter storm:Massive storm takes aim at Southern states after dumping snow across upper Midwest
Oregon shooting:6 people injured after incident outside Oregon concert hall
The network began appearing on DirecTV in April 2017. Many carriage agreements run a 5-year term.
OAN has been criticized for continuing to question President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, The New York Times reported, and has also maintained the rioters in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol were activists with the left-wing Antifa movement.
In its Nov. 23, 2021 story on the network, the Times noted that OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp said in a March 28 report, “There’s still serious doubts about who’s actually president.”
The former president said in an interview on OAN Friday, “I got 75 million votes … I got more votes than any sitting president in the history of our nation. I don’t believe he got 80 million votes. OK?”
DirecTV has had its issues as well. In February 2021, AT&T spun off the service, which it acquired for $48.5 billion in 2015. DirecTV’s subscriber numbers have fallen from 20.5 million mid-year 2015 to 15.4 million for all AT&T pay TV services six years later, according to Leichtman Research.
AT&T currently owns 70% of the separate company that is now DirecTV; private equity firm TPG owns 30%.
And merger talks between DirecTV and Dish Network, the other major satellite pay TV service, have resurfaced, The New York Post reported. The two have discussed merging in the past, but federal regulatory concerns kept talks from gaining momentum.
But this time could be different, with the consumer acceptance and emphasis on streaming TV. A potential merger has a better chance now than in the past, according to LightShed Partners, a TV, media and tech industry research firm. “We believe the regulatory risks today are not high given the state of the Pay TV market,” they said in their list of industry predictions for 2022.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.