DirecTV is adding a new conservative network to its lineup, one day after it stopped carrying Newsmax and faced pushback from Republican lawmakers.
The TV provider said on Thursday it had signed a multi-year agreement with The First, which features shows by Dana Loesch and Bill O’Reilly, to carry the network for free across its three video services. DirecTV had said it was dropping Newsmax after the network asked for rate increases and pointed to other platforms that carried it for free.
The heads of Newsmax pushed back against the decision, with CEO Christopher Ruddy calling the network’s removal “a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship.” Republican lawmakers echoed that sentiment, writing in a letter that DirecTV was “actively working to limit conservative viewpoints on its system.”
“DIRECTV values different viewpoints and perspectives and will always work to preserve expansive choice among a wide variety of entertainment and information services to appeal to the unique tastes and interests of our diverse customer base,” Rob Thun, chief content officer at DirecTV said in a statement about the new deal. “As we’ve successfully done with other emerging channels, we look forward to helping The First continue to expand its audience reach, while constantly ensuring that our customers receive a strong value.”
The First, which launched Paramount’s Pluto TV in October 2019, has daily programs including Loesch’s The Dana Show, The Liz Wheeler Show, No Spin News with Bill O’Reilly and I’m Right with Jesse Kelly.
DirecTV also carries Fox News, with the company noting that its added Fox News’ streaming service Fox Nation to their subscription video-on-demand service last March.