Pay-TV satellite service DirecTV will shut down One America News Network (OAN) when its current deal with the right-wing broadcaster expires, likely to deal a critical blow to OAN’s viewership and finances.
About 90% of the right-wing network’s revenue came from a deal with AT&T’s TV platforms, including DirecTV and U-verse, Reuters reported in October 2021, citing a 2020 affidavit from an OAN accountant. DirecTV is the the network’s largest distributor, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“We have informed Herring Networks that following a routine internal review, we do not intend to enter into a new deal when our current agreement expires,” DirecTV said in a statement to USA TODAY.
A DirecTV spokesman declined to say when OAN parent Herring Networks’ contract with DirecTV expires. But Bloomberg, which first reported DirecTV’s plan to drop OAN, said the deal ends in early April.
OAN and Henning Networks did not immediately respond to a request for comment to USA TODAY.
OAN will also be removed from DirecTV Stream, the live TV subscription service that launched in 2020 as AT&T TV.
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The network appeared on DirecTV in April 2017. Many contracts of carriage have a term of 5 years.
OAN has been criticized for continuing to question President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, the New York Times reported, and has also claimed the rioters in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol were left-wing Antifa activists -been movement.
In its November 23, 2021 report on the network, the Times noted that OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp said in a March 28 report, “There are still serious doubts as to who actually is President.”
The former president said in an interview with OAN on Friday, “I got 75 million votes… I got more votes than any sitting president in the history of our nation.” I don’t think he got 80 million votes. OK?”
DirecTV had its problems, too. In February 2021, AT&T spun off the service it acquired in 2015 for $48.5 billion. DirecTV subscribers have fallen from 20.5 million in mid-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 a merger in the past, but federal regulatory concerns prevented talks from gaining momentum.
But this time could be different, with consumer acceptance and emphasis on streaming TV. According to LightShed Partners, a research firm for the TV, media and technology industries, a potential merger now has a better chance than in the past. “We believe that the regulatory risks are not high today given the state of the pay-TV market,” they said in their list of industry forecasts for 2022.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.