Business

Al Jazeera launches US television news service

  • 20 August 2013
  • From the section Business
Al Jazeera logo in New York (20 Aug 2013)
Image caption The new network will initially be available to 48 million US households

Al Jazeera is launching a new TV news channel in the United States.

Al Jazeera America will be available in almost 48 million US households, offering 14 hours of news each day.

The new network replaces Current TV, the cable television network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, which the Qatar-owned broadcaster acquired in January 2013 for around $500m (£308m).

However, it has yet to sign agreements with major operators, such as Time Warner Cable, to carry the channel.

Al Jazeera America said that they will give less airtime than other US networks to advertising, typically carrying six minutes of adverts each hour, less than the industry average of 15 minutes.

Globally, Al Jazeera is seen in more than 260 million homes in 130 countries.

However, the network has previously struggled to attract a US audience, partly due to it being perceived as anti-American.

In 2010, Al-Jazeera English blamed a "very aggressive hostility" from the administration of former President George W Bush for reluctance among US cable companies to show the network.

'Unique'

After the takeover of Current TV was announced in January 2013, Time Warner Cable dropped Current from its line-up.

"Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service. We are removing the service as quickly as possible," the nation's second-largest TV operator said.

Al Jazeera said that its new schedule "fulfils its promise to provide unbiased in-depth coverage of domestic and international news important to its American viewers".

"We're breaking in with something that we think is unique and are confident, with our guts and some research, that the American people are looking for," said Kate O'Brian, president of Al Jazeera America and a former ABC News executive.

The new US network will employ around 850-900 journalists at launch, based in 12 US cities.

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