Al Jazeera’s New Channel Struggles for US Distribution
Al Jazeera’s announced plans to establish a new U.S. cable news channel via the purchase of Current TV isn’t even 48 hours old and already it finds itself in a vicious battle to retain distribution rights.
Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Current TV is basically a pay-for-distribution play. The Qatar-backed network plans to replace Current TV in the more than 40 million homes where it is currently distributed with its own news network, tentatively dubbed Al Jazeera America. The new network’s success is predicated on maintaining, if not increasing, that level of distribution.
One person with knowledge of cable TV deals said pay-TV operators will definitely seek more favorable terms from Al Jazeera since,
“no one wanted to carry Current TV and they want to carry an Al Jazeera channel even less.“
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