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Thu 29 Aug 2013 02:04 PM

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Al Jazeera America launch proves big turn off

New TV network set up by Qatari broadcaster attracts biggest audience of just 54,000

Al Jazeera America launch proves big turn off

Al Jazeera's new American TV network attracted poor audience figures for its first full week, according to Variety magazine.

Citing data from Nielsen, the entertainment mag said Al Jazeera America's most popular primetime show, America Tonight, attracted 27,000 viewers.

In comparison, Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor drew 2.97 million, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow bagged 970,000, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper attracted 627,000.

The Real Money with Ali Velshi show, which only drew 54,000 viewers, was the new network’s highest rated show last week, according to US media reports.

Al Jazeera America’s launch hour — August 20 at 3pm — averaged 22,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s minimum accuracy threshold.

This means that the number is essentially an estimate, as Nielsen couldn’t accurately count the viewers, Variety reported.

By comparison, Al Jazeera America’s main Twitter handle has more followers than its highest-rated show last week, having accumulated over 75,000 followers, it added.

The 24-hour network, which is available to about half of the country’s 100m cable TV subscribers, was setup in the wake of Al Jazeera’s $500m acquisition of Current TV, the current affair channel founded by former vice president Al Gore.

In preparation for the launch, Al Jazeera America put together a team of 900 employees and is operating out of 12 bureaus across the US. The broadcaster has also appointed ABC executive Kate O’Brian as its president and former CNN anchor Ali Velshi.

It will initially be available to about 49m households, although some experts believe that it will struggle to capture anywhere near this amount. Current TV was dropped by carrier Time Warner Cable just hours after its sale to Al Jazeera was announced.

Mick 6 years ago

What research, viability study or focus group results made Al Jazeera believe that Americans, who are by nature (wrongly persuaded by media or not) suspicious of the Middle East and Arabs. Not saying that it is right or warranted but Americans are just not on the edge of their seats with anticipation for an Arab Network in their homeland. Why did Al Jazeera think it would be any better received than it has been??

procan 6 years ago

No surprize eh! Lets see how long till it folds . Qatar has deep pockets I,d say 18 months.

HHH 6 years ago

After Al Jazeera's scandalous pretentious scenes of the muslim brotherhood, I doubt anyone will want to watch more fake acted-out news. Lying to people has lead to a reduced audience, and eventually it will become zero.

Qatari 6 years ago

They have 134K likes on Facebook ... Nice try AB.

procan 6 years ago

Ratings currently are non exist for Al Jazeera America Oct/10/13 to low to even calculate . You cannot blame AB for that .

Ashar 6 years ago

If they would have come with a different name it would have been much more widely accepted. There are much more than 27,000 people in America who would be willing to watch news but there are 2 things they will need to change: Firstly the name (it has negative goodwill in the US ... right or wrong is a different cannot change stereotypes overnight)
Secondly its middle of the ground line will not work as people in the USA are always associating themselves to either the left or the right....very few people watch BBC/NPR type neutral reporting or in point...Fox news and MSNBC....even if you dont agree with either watch for entertainment and "knowing your enemy" !
There is no business like show bisiness and Al Jazeera will have to learn that asap if they have to survive that even through neutral reporting is admired and is morally correct, it will not make them any money...atleast be center right or center left and have heated debates with guests!