After encouraging launch, Al Jazeera America plans to ramp up programming
Al-Jazeera America said Tuesday it would expand its programming, adding staff and a new morning news show as it seeks to boost viewership in the US market.
The news channel, which launched in August, said it would be opening new bureaus in the United States — adding to 12 opened this year — and hiring additional personnel.
The plan also includes “an enhanced schedule, an additional focus on investigative reporting, expanded distribution in the US, and continued consumer marketing support,” said a statement from the channel, owned by the Qatari media group behind Al-Jazeera.
“The results from our first two months have been very encouraging,” said interim chief executive Ehab Al Shihabi in a statement.
“The critical acclaim, increased distribution and online interest in Al-Jazeera America’s unbiased, objective and in-depth coverage of the news has convinced us that we should fast-track our plans to meet the projected increased demand.”
The statement said the news channel would open an unspecified number of additional bureaus over the next six to 12 months. New hires will include reporting, Web, creative and business staffers across the United States.
Al-Jazeera America will add a new morning news program, a weekly sports program, a weekly culture show and multiple new documentary series.
Within the next 18 months, the statement said Al-Jazeera America will move its broadcast and business operations in New York into “a new state-of-the-art headquarters in midtown Manhattan.”
The statement also said new marketing and advertising campaigns will be launched to “support Al-Jazeera America’s brand and programming priorities” and “to reflect expanded channel distribution with increased presence.”
The news channel announced last week it had struck a deal with Time Warner Cable to allow Al-Jazeera America to be seen in millions more US homes.
Some reports after the launch said Al-Jazeera viewership was low after the launch. The Nielsen ratings, in response to an AFP query, said it would not publicly release ratings for the channel.