Al Jazeera to enter US market

June 25th, 2009 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Dubai, June 25 (IANS) The English version of the Qatar-based television news channel Al Jazeera is set to make its first major foray into the US market July 1 through a cable TV company in the Washington DC area.
“I can tell you that on July 1 we are going to launch an agreement with a Washington DC-based company that has around 2.3 million subscribers,” said Al Jazeera’s director general Wadah Khanfar.

Though Al Jazeera English is available across 140 million homes in 40 countries, including Israel, it has not been able to enter the US market.

“Starting next month, we will have a growing audience in the United States,” Khanfar told the Arabian Business magazine in an interview.

“Many Americans associate the Al Jazeera brand with the Arabic news channel’s airing of video tapes from Osama Bin Laden, and US cable operators have been reluctant to add Al Jazeera English to their line-ups amid allegations that it is a ‘mouthpiece for terrorists’,” the Arabian Business report said.

Only two operators in Vermont and Ohio in the US have aired the channel.

However, with the new Barack Obama administration in place in Washington, the atmosphere has changed and the channel hopes to increase its presence in the US.

“I think the atmosphere is changing now. We have negotiations taking place with many cable companies in the US and Canada and I hope that very soon we are going to hear a lot of good news,” Khanfar said.

Al Jazeera English was launched in November 2006 targeting a global audience.

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