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Friday, August 30, 2013

Al-Jazeera ratings even worse than previously reported

Al-Jazeera's first America Tonight broadcast featuring Stephen Walt drew a nationwide audience of 27,000, according to the Nielsen ratings. That's less than most Red Sox games.
According to figures from Nielsen, the first airing of the Qatari broadcaster’s America Tonight programme attracted an audience of just 27,000. This doesn’t stack up well against Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, which drew 2.97m. Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper mustered 627,000 viewers during the same time slot.
The numbers make for embarrassing reading for a network that in the run up to its August 20 launch spent $500m acquiring Al Gore’s Current TV and hired hundreds of journalists, including star names like CNN’s Ali Velshi. True, its launch was not helped by the decisions of Time Warner Cable and AT&T not to carry the network, but its potential reach was still a good 50m or so US homes.
The paltry numbers are probably not surprising given the largely negative sentiment stateside, with one Fox News analyst describing Al Jazeera as a mouthpiece for Al Qaeda. “It’s a very unattractive brand in the US,” Claire Enders, of the UK’s Enders Analysis, told me in the run up to the launch. “Americans have very little interest in foreign news services anyway.”
But the Qatari government won't care.
Will the Qatari royal family, which fully owns Al Jazeera, care about this poor turn out? Not one jot I reckon. Backed by the Gulf state’s petrodollars, the station is under no pressure to turn a profit and its operating costs are merely a drop in the ocean for its loaded backers.
What is the point then? With another nine years until the FIFA World Cup 2022, I’d hazard that Al Jazeera America’s intended effect is as a PR tool, designed to portray a country most Americans know next to nothing about in a positive light.
 Anyone think the Qataris will try to  buy Time Warner or AT&T? Talk about the tail wagging the dog....

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At 7:28 PM, Blogger mrzee said...

They'll probably have Obama as a foreign affairs analyst long before 2022

At 2:36 AM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

They could buy the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR


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