Hello, everyone, this is my first TV Live Viewpoint article and the following article on Aljazeera English is written based on a hypothetical situation.
That hypothetical situation being– When Aljazeera English does hit the US Airwaves in major TV Markets ( ie, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc..)- can it survive against the major players in the US cable news/opinion channels?
First of all, I understand that Aljazeera English does air in some cities of the US via PBS stations, Link TV, regional cable companies, and MKZ Worldview ( with Washington DC being the most prominent) and can be seen online via internet stream on their website, LinkTV website and on Livestation.com.
Second of all, due to the evergoing crisis in Egypt, Aljazeera English is currently having its “CNN effect” or “CNN moment”- in which that Aljazeera English is now becoming the go-to place for continous news on Egypt, despite their news bureaus beign closed down and reporters beign detained.
And Third of all, Aljazeera English – or AJE for short- has a very infamous big brother- Aljazeera Arabic- which was built from the ashes of the original BBC Arabic channel which lasted from 1994 to 1996- which automatically has the effect of US viewers calling it a terrorist mouthpiece channel.
Let’s begin this hypothetical situation by saying that after AJE’s highly praised- and criticized- Egypt coverage, AJE is finally accepted by American viewers and AJE finally airs in all( or most) of the major markets in the US, that Americans now value AJE for what it is- a global news channel- and not for what they have been calling it- a terrorist mouthpiece or a propaganda/ smear campaign channel.
Now there’s the question- now that AJE finally airs in the US, can it regularly bring in viewers or will it have to undergo a format/programming change to make it more americanized?
Sure, the BBC, has been the number one foreign news source that Americans go to due to their easy accessibility to the American public, BBC World Service radio airs overnight on most NPR- affiliated and privately-owned public radio stations. Selections of BBC World News’ newscasts airs on PBS stations across the country and on the PBS World channel but can AJE be the next BBC- well known for their international coverage?
The American news market is a highly competitive market- one of the most in the world- and to many, the market seems over-crowded.
It is no longer the same when CNN and CNN2 ( today know as CNN Headline News and HLN) launched in 1980 and 1982 when they were the only people around the dial- Fox News Channel and the MSNBC channel ( a collaboration of NBC Universal and Microsoft) and now people no longer seem to want hard or straightforward news anymore.
According to the Nielsen rating system, Fox News Channel regularly beats all of its competitors- including HLN which switched to a more tabloidish feel but is more fast-paced and CNN is regularly left in the dust by MSNBC and even its sister HLN.
Aljazeera English will not fall under most basic cable packages and will be in the extended cable packages so even if AJE does make it to cable will anyone watch it?
In the tough times people are facing these days, and will people buy the extended cable package or satellite TV coverage for Aljzeera English?