Al Jazeera America, the cable news provider, will stop operating in the United States by late April, according to a statement directed to the employees of the media owned by the Qatar government. It seems that the decision comes as a consequence of the business model of the channel and the economic situation of the nation.
The New York-headquartered news agency started broadcasting in 2013 after the Qatar-owned network bought a TV cable news channel for approximately $500 million. Its objective was to be the best alternative for investigative journalism and news analysis from a team integrated by recognized journalists such as Ali Velshi, Joie Chen and Mike Viqueira and other workers from NBC, CNN and Fox News.
Even when the TV channel is going to close by April 30, Al Jazeera America announced on Wednesday that it is planning to expand its digital services in order to respond to a big segment of audiences who mostly use mobile platforms. Last year, the news agency Reuters took a similar measure when it launched the Reuters TV app, where users are able to watch one-minute videos that feature world news.
“The decision to close the channel was driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace. I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future,” Al Jazeera America chief executive Al Anstey said.
According to Paul Farhi, a media reporter at the Washington Post, the TV channel is available in approximately 64 million households, which is not that much when comparing to its competitors that have around one more third of subscribers. It appears that the audiences of some TV emissions from Al Jazeera are so insignificant that Nielsen rating service does not identify the number of viewers.
Last year, the company made efforts to increase ratings with the addition of more hours of programming with content from New York, London, Doha and Qatar, but the expectations of the network were not filled. It was announced that the Arabic-language channel will still be available in some cable providers.
Source: Washington Post