By George Bevir
Mobile service to give Qatar-based broadcaster greater US exposure
Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera yesterday launched an application for Apple’s iPhone that will give users around the world access to its English language news channel while on the move.
The deal should help to further boost the news channel’s presence in the US, where until last week Al Jazeera had struggled to secure a carriage deal with a major TV cable operator.
Director of global distribution for Al Jazeera, Phil Lawrie, said that with the bulk of iPhones sold in North America and Europe, the broadcaster expects demand for the Apple application to come from those territories.
He added that as well as helping to extend the news channel’s reach, it also demonstrates Al Jazeera’s enthusiasm for embracing new technology.
“Deployments such as this, on emerging technologies, are all about garnering real estate and making sure a fragmenting audience can still find us on whatever device they are using,” he said.
"Al Jazeera English is already firmly established as one of the most viewed news channels on YouTube and now Al Jazeera English Live is keeping the station at the fore of the digital revolution.”
Earlier this week, Al Jazeera unveiled its first major US TV deal with a Washington DC-based cable company, a significant step for the Doha-based broadcaster which has always denied allegations made by some US-based opponents of the channel that it acts as a mouthpiece for terrorist organisations.
The iPhone application, which will initially be available for six months priced at $2.99, was developed with online TV company Livestation, a website that offers live TV and radio, including BBC World News, Bloomberg and UK channel ITN.