QuatarQatar-based TV news network Al Jazeera will launch a dedicated online video channel within the next few months. The channel was announced at the MIPCOM industry convention in Cannes this week, and a press release quoted Al Jazeera’s Innovation and Incubation Manager Moeed Ahmad with the following words:
“There is a generation of people who wants to go beyond the box. They instinctively turn online to consume news. They share, like, Tweet, comment, interact and forward. To reach them requires a fresh approach. We’re working hard to bring this to the world. It will be engaging and at times entertaining – but always with purpose. Get ready – we’re coming soon.”
An Al Jazeera representative told the Hollywood Reporter that the new online venture will be headquartered in San Francisco, with dedicated offices in Johannesburg, Beijing, New Delhi and elsewhere.
Al Jazeera didn’t immediately make any additional information about the new channel available, only saying that it has been “referred to internally as AJ+.” However, a bit of digging unearthed two interesting details: The web address Plus.Aljazeera.com currently forwards to the network’s PR Tumblr, which hosts the press release about the new channel, suggesting that this may be more than just an internal code name.
Also, job offers posted online provide additional insights, with one reading:
“The Al Jazeera YouTube channel will be a dedicated online video concept that will bring the Al Jazeera editorial vision to a younger generation of people whose habits of consuming news and media are changing.
Based out of studios in San Francisco the online video channel will leverage off Al Jazeera network’s extensive bureau across the globe and the United States to produce quality, information empowering online video content that speaks to younger audiences and places the human at the center of the story.
The online video channel will aim to use new, dynamic online storytelling to produce short and captivating news clips, short form documentaries and robust discussion programs that will proliferate the online space. Enabling viewers to be informed about what they want, when they want.”
The focus on YouTube is interesting: Al Jazeera was forced to block U.S. audiences from accessing its YouTube videos after the launch of its Al Jazeera America network due to carriage agreements with cable operators. The move was widely criticized by both viewers and Al Jazeera producers, in part because YouTube was the platform where a lot of viewers first discovered Al Jazeera’s journalism during the Arab Spring.
Now it looks like some videos may be returning to YouTube soon.