Pay-TV satellite service DirecTV will drop One America News Network (OAN) when the right-wing channel’s current distribution deal expires, likely a critical blow to OAN’s viewership and finances.
About 90% of the right-wing network’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T TV platforms including DirecTV and U-verse, Reuters reported in October 2021, citing accountant sworn testimony from OAN in 2020. DirecTV is the network’s largest distributor, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“We have advised Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not expect to enter into a new contract upon the expiration of our current agreement,” DirecTV said in a statement to USA TODAY.
A DirecTV spokesperson would not say when parent company OAN Herring Networks’ contract with DirecTV expires. But Bloomberg, which first reported on DirecTV’s plan to drop OAN, said the deal ended in early April.
OAN and Henning Networks did not immediately respond to a USA TODAY request for comment.
OAN will also be removed from DirecTV Stream, the live television subscription service launching as AT&T TV in 2020.
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The network began appearing on DirecTV in April 2017. Many distribution deals are for 5 years.
OAN has been criticized for continuing to question President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, The New York Times reported, and also argued that the rioters in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol were activists from the left-wing Antifa movement.
In its Nov. 23, 2021, network article, The Times noted that OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp said in a March 28 report, “There are still serious doubts about who really 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, okay?
DirecTV also had its issues. In February 2021, AT&T divested the service, which it acquired for $48.5 billion in 2015. DirecTV’s subscriber count fell 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; the private equity firm TPG holds 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 the merger in the past, but federal regulatory concerns have prevented the talks from gaining momentum.
But this time could be different, with consumer acceptance and an emphasis on streaming TV. A potential merger has a better chance now than in the past, according to LightShed Partners, a television, media and technology industry research firm. “We believe that the current regulatory risks are not high given the state of the pay-TV market,” they said in their list of industry forecasts for 2022.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.