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Newsmax launches “Newsmax 2,” ends free streaming news channel

Network says cable agreements are to blame.

Network says cable agreements are to blame.

A still frame from a broadcast on cable commentary network Newsmax. (Graphic by The Desk)
A still frame from a broadcast on cable commentary network Newsmax. (Graphic by The Desk)

Right-of-center commentary network Newsmax has pulled its free streaming channel after promising earlier this year that it would focus on paid distribution of its core programming instead.

The pledge was made in January while Newsmax was locked in battle with satellite broadcaster DirecTV, which pulled the channel after officials at Newsmax demanded a paid retransmission consent agreement for the first time.

At the time, DirecTV said it shouldn’t have to pay anything to offer Newsmax to its subscribers because the channel was widely available on free streaming platforms like YouTube, Xumo Play and Paramount-owned Pluto TV. Officials at Newsmax responded by affirming their free streaming channel would eventually come to an end as it focused solely on distribution through paid platforms like cable, satellite and premium streaming services.

Now, Newsmax has carried through with its promise, removing its core channel from free streaming platforms and directing people to a new subscription streaming option called Newsmax Plus, which costs $5 a month or $50 a year after a two-week free trial.

“Millions of Americans are tuning into Newsmax and we want to give them even more content they can stream at home or on their phones,” Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, said in a statement announcing the change.

Officials said the decision to make Newsmax a pay channel was “due to cable agreements,” with the channel now unavailable on free streaming platforms like Samsung TV Plus, the Roku Channel, LG Channels and Vizio WatchFree Plus.

Platforms that once offered the streaming version of Newsmax are now distributing a new channel called “Newsmax 2,” which offers a curated collection of headlines and clips from Newsmax’s core programming interspersed with documentaries and other Newsmax content.

Newsmax 2 won’t offer live access to shows like “The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “Greg Kelly Reports,” “The Chris Salcedo Show” or “Eric Bolling The Balance,” but will offer clips of segments from those shows throughout the day. Full shows will be available to stream live on Newsmax Plus, along with on-demand replays of episodes once they air.

Newsmax Plus is being sold directly through the Newsmax website, and is available on streaming TV platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV (Google TV), Samsung Tizen, LG webOS and Vizio SmartCast, along with Android and Apple phones and tablets.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).