In a move expected to reduce OAN’s viewership by millions of households, DirecTV announced Friday that it would not be renewing One America News when the network’s current contract expires. This according to Bloomberg, which was first to report the DirecTV programming change.
“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 Bloomberg News.
DirecTV, which is majority share-held by AT&T, has carried the network since 2017. But a spokesman for AT&T told The Washington Post over the weekend that DirecTV had only consented to carry the Far-Right mouthpiece as part of a settlement of OAN’s 2016 lawsuit against the telecom giant, since which it has been by far OAN’s largest and most influential distributor. According to OAN’s website, the next largest platform where the network is available is Verizon Fios. Leading cable companies like Comcast and Charter do not carry the network, nor does Dish Network, the other major satellite television provider. It is unclear exactly what share of OAN’s revenue is tied to its DirecTV distribution, but an OAN accountant was quoted by Reuters (in the above linked article) suggesting the value was upwards of tens of millions, and that without those funds the network’s value “would be zero.”
OAN has long been one of former President Trump’s most vocal and undiscerning supporters. High level executives at the network, including the Herrings themselves, are on the record instructing network anchors to downplay or “scuttle stories about police shootings, encourage antiabortion stories, minimize coverage of Russian aggression, and steer away from [President Trump’s] troubles, according to more than a dozen current and former producers, writers and anchors, as well as internal emails from Herring and his top news executives.”
It remains ambiguous exactly why DirecTV is taking this action. But it’s worth noting that Pay-TV providers like DirecTV and Comcast have been trimming their offerings as a general money-saving effort, because viewers have increasingly been turning away from traditional television providers in favor of internet streaming services for their at-home entertainment.