Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera’s cable channel in the States, is set to shut its doors by the end of April this year due to the company deciding the way it operated was an unsustainable business model.
The decision was made by the Board of the media company and announced on the company’s website on Wednesday (the States time).
The cable channel first started airing in the States in 2013, reports The New York Times.
“It promised to be thoughtful and smart, free of the shouting arguments that have defined cable news in the United States over the last decade. But meaningful viewership never came, with prime-time ratings sometimes struggling to exceed 30,000 viewers.”
In a company memo, CEO Al Anstey said the closure was a “massive disappointment”.
“I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future.
“Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled. We have increasingly set ourselves apart from all the rest. And you are the most talented team any organisation could wish for.
“Between now and April, we will continue to show America why AJAM has won respect and the fierce loyalty of so many of our viewers,” he continued.
“Through your remarkable work at AJAM, we have shown that there is a different way of reporting news and providing information. The foundation of this is integrity, great journalism, impartiality and a commitment to the highest quality story telling. This will be our lasting impact, and as we produce and showcase the best of our work in the weeks to come, this will be clear for everyone to see.”
The Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement: “As audiences increasingly turn to multiple platforms, including mobile devices, for news and information, this expansion will allow U.S. and non-U.S. consumers alike to access the network’s journalism and content wherever and whenever they want.
“By expanding its digital content and distribution services to now include the U.S., the network will be better positioned to innovate and compete in an overwhelmingly digital world to serve today’s 24-hour digitally focused audience.”
The media company has dominated headlines numerous times, most recently the horrific detaining of its journalists in Egypt, with Aussie journo Peter Greste among them.
Greste was released in February last year and ended up finding out about one of his colleagues’ release on live television. It makes for moving watching.