Al Jazeera Acquires Current TV
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation. Al Jazeera has acquired Current TV. The acquisition boosts their reach to around 40 million homes. Current TV is focused on U.S. news. and was co-founded by former United States Vice President Al Gore.
Al Gore said that Al Jazeera shares Current TV’s mission “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Current TV will be transformed into a new channel called Al-Jazeera America. They are adding 5-10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five that they have now. They are also hiring more journalists. Al-Jazeera spokesman Stan Collender said that there are no rules against owning a foreign cable channel. Collender said that this move is based on demand and added that 40% of viewing traffic on Al-Jazeera English’s website is from the U.S.
“This is a pure business decision based on recognized demand,” stated Collender. “When people watch Al-Jazeera, they tend to like it a great deal.”
Al-Jazeera struggled to expand to the U.S. After Current TV announced the acquisition, Time Warner Cable announced that they are dropping Current TV because of the deal. “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,” stated Time Warner.
Some of the leading personalities on Current TV are former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, and Cenk Uygur. Current TV was founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt. The company is expected to hit revenues of $114 million in 2013 according to research company SNL Kagan.