GCI Keeps Conservative Channel

By James Brooks

Alaska Beacon

Alaska cable company GCI has no immediate plans to drop the right-wing TV channel One America News, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

Verizon, the last remaining major carrier to carry the channel, plans to stop airing the channel on Saturday. That action follows a similar one in April by DirectTV. Their decisions leave the channel, once a reliable advocate for the administration of President Donald Trump, without a nationwide audience and without the funding provided by fees paid by those carriers.

Scott Robson, a senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told The New York Times that the channel will soon be accessible only to customers of smaller cable networks such as GCI’s parent company, GCI Liberty.

Josh Edge, a spokesperson for GCI, confirmed that OAN will remain accessible on GCI for the time being.

“GCI’s current contract to deliver OAN content was signed in 2019. When the contract concludes, GCI will review the viewership numbers and determine whether or not to negotiate for a new contract. This is the regular business practice GCI uses for all contracts to deliver pay TV programming. For reference, GCI manages more than 50 programming contracts for nearly 300 channels,” Edge said.

He declined to say when GCI’s contract for OAN will expire.

“The terms of the OAN contract, like all content contracts, are confidential,” he said.

Started in 2013 as an alternative to channels like Fox News, OAN gained viewership during the administration of President Donald Trump, who repeatedly praised its coverage.

It has been a reliable platform for conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, vaccinations and the 2020 election. The network now faces several defamation lawsuits relating to that coverage.

GCI, formerly a standalone company, was purchased in 2020 and is now part of Liberty Broadband, a national company based in Colorado.

GCI does not publish the number of its cable TV subscribers but as of March 31 listed 153,600 cable internet subscribers. 

In its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it noted that its revenue from residential TV service declined by a third from the prior quarter and that more declines are expected “as customers potentially choose alternative services.”

https://alaskabeacon.com/james-brooks

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