Al Jazeera English has finally landed a cable foothold in the United States. Sort of.
Beginning at midnight the network is now available to Time Warner customers in New York City on channel 92.
AJE gained widespread acclaim for its coverage of the Arab uprising in Egypt this past January but was unable to convert that attention — its website saw a 600% increase in traffic and Hillary Clinton labelled them ‘real news’ — to a major cable distribution deal.
Instead they have landed smaller deals, such as the one that now makes them available on Time Warner. The network is subletting 23 hours of cable space from RISE, a cable channel adjunct to WRNN, a broadcast station in suburban New York, reports the NYT.
Al Antsey, the managing director of AJE tells HuffPo that “New York is a very important city, it’s looking at all directions on the globe and all directions are looking back at New York City. So it’s a truly global city. It’s got a very outward looking, diverse, intelligent audience — obviously an influential audience in some quarters as well. So it’s a key part of our strategy.” It’s also where most of the sites U.S. traffic comes from.
So far they nations major cable carriers are denying that their refusal to carry Al Jazeera has anything to do with the criticism that dogged the network during the Bush years. But one imagines if the network’s NYC foray proves to be a success they will have a harder time justifying withholding cable space.
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