Al Jazeera buys Current; to launch US channel
04 Jan 2013 - 3:08
A woman walks by the Current TV offices yesterday in San Francisco, California.
DOHA: Al Jazeera Media Network will launch a new US-based news channel following the acquisition of Current TV, a cable channel founded by Al Gore and partners, in a move that will boost the Qatar-based broadcaster’s footprint in the United States to more than 40 million US households, up from 4.7 million prior to the deal.
Al Jazeera Media Network announced that the new channel will provide both domestic and international news to American audiences, and will be available on Current’s distribution network when it is launched in 2013.
There will be a transition from existing programming until the new Al Jazeera channel begins to air. Currently almost 40 percent of online viewing of Al Jazeera English takes place from the United States. The channel will be headquartered in New York City.
In addition to the existing Al Jazeera news bureaus in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, Al Jazeera will open bureaus in key locations across the United States. Al Jazeera’s expansion will double the network’s US-based staff to more than 300 employees.
Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said the creation of the new US-based channel and the purchase of Current TV were historic developments in Al Jazeera’s 16-year history. “For many years, we understood that we could make a positive contribution to the news and information available in and about the United States and what we are announcing today will help us achieve that goal,” he said.
“By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our news gathering and reporting efforts in America.
“We look forward to working together with our new cable and satellite partners to serve our new audiences across the US. I am both exceptionally pleased and very proud that we could take this very important step,” he added.
“US viewers have clearly demonstrated that they like the way Al Jazeera provides compelling, in-depth news to audiences across the world,” the director general said.
“Our commitment to the voice of the voiceless, bringing stories from under-reported regions across the world and putting the human being at the centre of our news agenda is at the heart of what we do,” he stated.
Al Thani added: “Everyone at Al Jazeera takes great pride in the independence, impartiality, professionalism and courage of our journalism. I look forward to bringing these standards to our new American audiences and working with our new colleagues at Current.”