Al Jazeera buys Current TV, aims to 'conquer' America

AJ America will be seen in 40 mln homes. Challenge to Cnn, Fox

03 January, 15:14

Al Jazeera English's website Al Jazeera English's website

(ANSAmed) - Rome, JAN 3 - Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera is preparing to conquer America with its latest acquisition - Current TV, the network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore.

It is planned that the network, which will be specifically moulded to an American audience, will be beamed into 40 million households. At present only 4.7 million American households have access to Al Jazeera English. Now, according to AJ's website, Al Jazeera America - the new brainchild which has headquarters in New York, will start transmitting in 2013.

It will be independent from the international English network and will supply US and world news, of which 60% will be produced in America, and 40% taken from sister provider Al Jazeera English.

Analysts estimate the cost at around 500 million dollars though so far expenditure has remained secret. Al Jazeera already has offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles but plans to expand deep into the American heartland with an 'all American' schedule and news feed. The network's US staff is set to be doubled to 500 and includes journalists and technicians. Although Al Jazeera is already seen by 260 million households in 130 countries its presence is modest in the US. Now the network is pitching itself head to head with mammoth American broadcasters such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox.

"For many years, we understood that we could make a positive contribution to the news and information available in and about the United States and what we are announcing today will help us achieve that goal," Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, director general of Al Jazeera, said in a statement.

"By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America" Current TV was founded by Al Gore seven years ago. Despite problems with ratings it has been seen by 60 million US households, according to Current TV research.

Gore and his business partner Current TV Ceo Joel Hyatt said in a statement Wednesday night that "Current Media was built based on a few key goals: 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". "Al Jazeera has the same goals and, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us", Gore and Hyatt said. (ANSAmed).

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