Al Jazeera gears up for bigger play in US market

Al Jazeera gears up for bigger play in US market

MUMBAI: After launching its sports network beIN Sport in US, Al Jazeera Media Network is all geared up for its foray in the news domain with the acquisition of former Vice-President Al Gore?s news station Current TV.

While the financial details of the acquisition have not been revealed newswire Reuters has reported that the deal is worth $500 million.

Al Jazeera, which has more than 70 bureaus across the globe, also announced the launch of a new US-based news channel that will provide both domestic news and international news for American audiences.

The Qatar-based news network said the new US-based news channel will be available on Current?s distribution network when it is launched this year. There will be a transition from existing programming until the new Al Jazeera channel begins to air.

The new channel will be headquartered in New York City. In addition to the existing Al Jazeera news bureaus in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, Al Jazeera will open additional bureaus in key locations across the United States. Al Jazeera?s expansion will double the network?s US-based staff to more than 300 employees.

As part of the Network?s expansion it is also planning to launch Al Jazeera Turk for the Turkish-speaking region in 2013.

Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said that the creation of the new U.S.-based news channel and the purchase of Current TV are historic developments in Al Jazeera?s 16-year history.

He said, "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. 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. We look forward to working together with our new cable and satellite partners to serve our new audiences across the US."

Al Jazeera?s decision to create a US-based news channel was based in part on the fact that Americans have already shown a great demand for its news and programs: Almost 40 percent of all online viewing of Al Jazeera English comes from the United States.

The new U.S.-based news channel will be the latest addition to the Al Jazeera Media Network which consists of: Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Balkans, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera Mubasher, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr (Egypt Live), Al Jazeera Mobile, the English and Arabic Al Jazeera web sites Al Jazeera.net and Al Jazeera.com.

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