Al Jazeera launched its U.S. cable network Tuesday, but a significant part of its potential audience couldn’t tune in: Viewers used to watching Al Jazeera’s international channel online found themselves blocked from accessing its programming this week, and some key TV providers aren’t carrying Al Jazeera America.
Al Jazeera executives seem to be acutely aware of those missed eyeballs. The network is urging potential viewers to contact their pay TV providers, but the news organization also seems to be working on additional online offerings for people without access to the new network. Here’s what Riyaad Minty, Al Jazeera’s Head of Social Media, had to say on Twitter about this issue:
and to those, our most loyal #AlJazeera viewers in the US, who have lost the live streams. We hear you. We're working on it.
— Riyaad Minty (@Riy) August 20, 2013
He also said that Al Jazeera may be launching a new online offering within the next few weeks, but added that this wouldn’t be connected to Al Jazeera America.
Minty didn’t go into further details, but it’s possible that Al Jazeera, whose corporate headquarter is in Quatar, may look to complement its U.S. cable channel with some online-exclusive content that wouldn’t be violating agreements with carriers, much in the same way that CNN and other established news networks are producing exclusive online content.
Al Jazeera America isn’t live streaming any of its programming online. Its international sister channel Al Jazeera English started to block U.S. viewers from accessing its YouTube videos last week, and followed up by blocking its live stream earlier this week as well.
Both were conditions imposed on the network in order to get distribution from cable TV providers — but even that didn’t stop some of those providers from shunning the new news network. Time Warner Cable decided back in January not to carry Al Jazeera, and AT&T dropped the channel hours before it went on the air.