After dropping Newsmax from its lineup, DirecTV is now launching a right-wing opinion and commentary channel called The First.
On Wednesday, DirecTV said it would no longer be broadcasting Newsmax over an ongoing carriage fee dispute, as the channel demanded a rate increase that DirecTV says would have “led to significantly higher costs” that would ultimately impact consumers.
By 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Newsmax was completely removed from DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-Verse. On Thursday, DirecTV shared The First would be its newest channel addition, which will provide conservative commentary and opinions.
“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,” DirecTV chief content officer Rob Thun said in a public company memo. “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 drama between the two entities has since caught the attention of former president Donald Trump, who threatened to drop “all association” with AT&T — its parent company — and DirecTV. “The Radical Left seems to have taken over the mind and soul of AT&T,” Trump said. “This is a big blow to the Republican Party, and to America itself. For DIRECTV to drop very popular NEWSMAX, without explanation, will not be accepted. I, for one, will be dropping all association with AT&T and DIRECTV, and I have plenty.
These aren’t only changes happening at DirecTV. Two weeks ago the network laid off 10% of its management team as subscribers continued to move into streaming services and away from paid linear television.