Newsmax, a concservative news service that has opperated on both a free stream available via its Website and numerous FAST services as well as via pay TV partners, has announced that it will be dropping free access to its service. The organization is currently involved in a high-profile spat with DirecTV, U-Verse and DirecTV Stream (all parts of the same property) that saw Newsmax removed from the pay-TV and streaming services respectively. The website iwantnewsmax.com is suggested via the official Newsmax website when users seek to offer feedback or ask questions regarding coverage. We found the link after using the portal in an inquiry.
It should be noted that while the free version has been readily avaialable for Newsmax customers without said pay-TV partners the pay services have been paying Newsmax retransmision fees for the right to have the news feed built into its official channel guide along side other cable news channels like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. The free feed may well have made the fees paid feel like too high a demand since they were unlikely to drive subscribers who were specifically looking for Newsmax.
Newsmax says that its service is the 4th highest-rated cable news channel in U.S. and a top 16 cable channel though according to Variety Newsmax TV is tied for No 72. Indie Wire had a similar story that placed Newsmax as the number 52 most popular channel in cable channel according to Nielson ratings. And just to fend off any accusation of “libberal Bias” Indie Wire acknowleged Fox News as the top cable channel as far as prime time viewers and Nielson Ratings.
If the announcement is a way to make the propery itself more valluable the move risks losing the passive income that is delivered via advertisements in its many free outlets. The move may also backfire as its slot on DirecTV is already going to be filled by a different conservative news network called The First. This may well blunt talk that the company is simply aiming at conservative news organizations. It should be noted that The First features “beloved liberals” like Bill O’Reilly’. Such a move definalely mutes the argument a bit.
We will continue to keep our eye on this story.