Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business
Current was co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore/COURTESY

World

Al-Jazeera buys Current TV, launches push into US

Current was co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore/COURTESY

Current was co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore/COURTESY

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 3 – The pan-Arab news giant Al-Jazeera bought Current TV, a struggling US cable channel on Wednesday, in a deal aimed at giving the Qatar-based broadcaster the scope to challenge major American TV networks.

Current, co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore, announced the sale in a statement that was later confirmed by Al-Jazeera. The acquisition will allow the latter to reach millions more US homes than it does at present.

The financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but Forbes reported that a possible value of $400 million could net Gore $100 million.

The purchase of Current will coincide with Al-Jazeera launching a US-based channel, heralding a push for vastly broader visibility in American homes, on the back of strong US use of its existing English service on the Internet.

And it will put the broadcaster, which is financed by the Qatari government, into closer competition with CNN and other US news channels, as Al-Jazeera is offered only by a handful of American cable and satellite distributors.

Although Current TV has been struggling for ratings, it nonetheless reaches 60 million American households, according to its own figures.

“We are proud and pleased that Al-Jazeera, the award-winning international news organization, has bought Current TV,” said Gore, the San Francisco-based channel’s chairman, and Joel Hyatt, co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

Al-Jazeera, in a separate statement, said its new channel would be based in New York and will provide both domestic and foreign news for American viewers when it is launched this year, and increase its existing US staffing levels to more than 300.

In addition to existing Al-Jazeera news bureaus in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, Al-Jazeera will open additional bureaus in key locations across the United States, the company said.

“By acquiring Current TV, Al-Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting,” said Al-Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Al Jazeera’s decision to create a US-based news channel was based in part on the fact that Americans have already shown a great demand for its news and programs, the company said.

“Almost 40 percent of all online viewing of Al-Jazeera English comes from the United States,” it added in the statement.

The New York Times reported that Al-Jazeera was expected to name the new channel “Al-Jazeera America,” instead of using its existing English-language vehicle Al-Jazeera English, capitalizing on Current’s US audience reach.

Hyatt told staff in an email that he and Gore would serve on the advisory board of Al-Jazeera America. “We look forward to helping build an important news network,” Hyatt added, according to the Times report.

Current Media, founded in 2005, operates Current TV, and reaches households in Britain, as well as the United States. It also operates a youth-focused website Current.com, where users can submit their own content.

The channel has won two Emmy Awards and other honours. It reaches 71 million households worldwide.

But The Times said a sale was considered because of low ratings, with an average of just 42,000 people watching Current TV last year.

Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Ask Kirubi

It is without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the whole world by surprise. Although its full impact is yet to be...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...