The Al Jazeera America news network will soon be available in millions of additional households across the US thanks to a new deal between the Qatar-owned channel and Time Warner Cable. TWC will add Al Jazeera America to its channel lineups in New York and Los Los Angeles this year, and plans to bring the network to all other markets by March. The agreement, announced today, marks a major milestone for Al Jazeera's American presence. The young news channel has so far struggled to establish a sizable viewing audience after taking over Al Gore's Current TV two months ago. In fact, shortly after Al Jazeera announced it had reached a deal to replace Current, Time Warner Cable announced it would be dropping Current TV from its listings nationwide. Low ratings for the political network were cited as the reason, and TWC said it would work towards a new agreement with Al Jazeera. AT&T followed a similar path, which led to a lawsuit between the two companies.
Millions of potential new viewers
“Now that the channel is live, we think that it would be of value to our customers and are pleased to make it available," said Melinda Witmer, Time Warner Cable's chief video and content officer. Ehab Al Shihabi, the interim head of Al Jazeera America, said, "It has been a pleasure working with TWC over the past few months as their executives evaluated our programming and commitment to fact-based, in depth reporting." Al Shihabi said the deal represents a "vote of confidence" in Al Jazeera America's "brand of unbiased journalism." Obviously Al Jazeera will need help from more than one major cable provider if it hopes to expand its viewership significantly. To that end, Al Shihabi confirmed to The New York Times that negotiations with other providers remain ongoing.