(Republicaninformer.com)- After deciding to drop Newsmax from its channel lineup recently, DirecTV announced this week that it would be adding a new conservative network for subscribers to its satellite TV service.
The channel being added to the lineup is called The First. Featured on that network are hosts Bill O’Reilly and Dana Loesch. The news was seemingly first announced by Liz Wheeler, another host on the network, who tweeted:
“Big news! @TheFirstonTv will soon be available on @DirectTV! With the recent addition of The Liz Wheeler Show to The First’s lineup, I’m excited to bring these much-needed messages and stories to the homes of millions of DirecTV customers.”
DirecTV was catching a lot of flack recently for dropping Newsmax. Many conservatives accused the TV provider of censoring conservative voices and opinions.
Four Republican senators – Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz – wrote a letter to DirecTV saying they were “deeply disturbed” by its decision to drop Newsmax. They claimed it was part of the company’s plot to “censor” viewpoints that leaned conservative.
In their letter, the senators wrote:
“DirecTV’s decision follow recent revelations of collusion between Big Tech companies and Democrat officials to label conservative speech as ‘misinformation’ and censor it. The silencing of conservative speech at the request of government officials is a direct assault on free speech and a threat to democracy.”
The Republican National Committee also said DirecTV should be held accountable for their “censorship of Republican voices.”
But, this week, Loesch herself backed up DirectTV, saying that no one was censored or banned, and that the decision ultimately came down to carriage fees.
Sources close to the discussions said that Newsmax demanded that DirecTV pay them a carriage fee if they wanted to continue having the network in its channel lineup. That fee was reportedly in the tens of millions of dollars.
DirecTV refused that demand, saying they didn’t want to pass those costs to their subscribers since the channel is only watched by a small percentage of their overall viewers.
Representatives from the network told media outlet The Hill that while they were negotiating with Newsmax, they “made it clear … that we wanted to continue to offer the network.” But, the demands the network made for the rate increases “would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base.”
Such a dispute over carrier fees is not uncommon. In fact, just this week, YouTube TV dropped MLB Network from its lineup after a dispute over a contract.
DirecTV responded to the Republican criticism by adding The First Network to its lineup quickly after Newsmax was dropped. The company said this serves as a prime example that they don’t have a bias toward conservative viewpoints, and they were happy to add content that was similar to what Newsmax was offering, as long as they wouldn’t be forced to pass higher costs onto their customers.
The First Network will apparently be taking over the exact channel number on DirecTV that Newmax previously occupied.