Middle-Eastern cable news network Al Jazeera has been preparing to launch an American version of their channel for the past year. The launch in America took place this past Tuesday, but AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) dropped Al Jazeera America (AJA) from U-Verse only a few hours before it started to air. This means that Al Jazeera America lost out on 5 million customers.
AJA was able to still accessible to around 40 million homes through other distribution partners though.
Because of AT&T’s actions, Al Jazeera has filed a lawsuit against them. Al Jazeera said that AT&T “cast around an excuse to unilaterally terminate the Affiliation Agreement.”
Al Jazeera told The New York Times that they have “no choice but to take this action and to enforce Al Jazeera’s rights under its agreement with AT&T.” The company added that AT&T acted in “bad faith” and pocketed millions of dollars to which they were not entitled.
Al Jazeera is funded by the Qatar government. Al Jazeera has suggested that many U-Verse customers are in conservative states.
Al Jazeera America was formed from Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million.
AT&T said that Al Jazeera “mischaracterized the facts” and said that the channel was removed because of the inability to come to terms on a new agreement.
[Source: The Verge]