"Al Jazeera Buys Al Gore’s Current TV for $500M"

(Story seems a bit more about state of TV & broadcast audiences than any political agendas, despite parties involved…posting here rather than P&R.)

Source: Yahoo! Finance

“Al Jazeera Buys Al Gore’s Current TV for $500M”

There has been a lot of talk about the death of the TV business over the past 10 years.

And the TV business is indeed beginning to change in ways that will change the status quo for TV companies, especially networks.

But those changes are happening slowly.

And in the meantime, it’s business as usual in the TV industry, which means coining money at a rate that is almost unfathomable to anyone who works in the print or digital-media or even radio businesses.

Case in point?

A cable TV network that no one watched, Al Gore’s Current TV, just sold for $500 million.

Okay, it’s an exaggeration to say that no one watched Current, although that’s exactly what the network’s best-known host, Eliot Spitzer, recently told the New York Times’ Brian Stelter, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that Current’s ratings were lousy.

The ratings were so lousy, in fact, that the network was at risk of getting dropped by Time Warner Cable (TWC).

Nor was the programming that Current TV produces attractive to its new buyer, the Qatar-owned news organization Al Jazeera. According to Stelter, Al Jazeera plans to “shut Current” and replace it with another news network, Al Jazeera America.
So, why, exactly, did Al Jazeera pay $500 million for Current TV if no one watches Current and Al Jazeera plans to just shut the whole thing down?

Because Al Jazeera wanted access to America’s TV viewers–specifically, the cable distribution contracts that enable Current to be watched in tens of millions of American households.

Even after Time Warner dumped Current instantly because of the sale, Current is available in about ~30 million American households.

Qatar wants influence in DC. This is part of their strategy to undermine the Saudi position and supplant their role in the Middle East.

Somehow about two months ago Current went from a free channel on the basic level to a channel on the premiere pay level. I use U-Verse. I bet it was just a political move to make sure nobody watched the channel. Of course that was unnecessary as nobody does watch the channel.

And has Faux News started screaming about Al Jazeera (no doubt a terrorist network) buying Current.

AJ sometimes has interesting reporting so long as it’s not on one of their hot-button topics. I always wonder how the English-language reporting differs from what they broadcast to the Arab world, though; somehow I doubt the two versions are identical.

They have a seperate product for the Arab markets.

Just to explain my comment - Qatar is jockying with the Sauds for control of the Sunni Arab world. Al Jazeera is part of a broader strategy to shape perceptions and create a narrative that reflect Qatars interests. They have increasingly staked out their own positions on issues like Gaza, Libya, and Egypt, and often at the expense of the Sauds. This is a way to cut in on the Saudi-American alliance and enhance the legimacy of Al Jazeera internationally.

Let them in, by all means. As they get a taste of real money, they’ll switch to celebrity news and shitty reality shows like every other network.

A channel that gets a few tens of thousands in viewers goes for half a billion?

When I saw this headling I thought “Al Gore’s Current TV” would be a 50" plasma or some such. And I couldn’t figure out why that was worth so much. Boy do I have egg on my face!

No chance. Al Gore’s TV is a high-tech 42" that is built entirely from discarded Jolt Cola cans and runs off the power generated by an exercise bike that he makes his new 24 year-old girlfriend ride in a bikini.

Also, I am very concerned that the Mohammedans have a foothold in US broadcast TV.

Exactly the same reaction I had…“Damn, that must be a freaking big TV”

Having never heard of Current TV, I first thought, “how much is his new TV going to cost then?”

I have to say, watching the Egyptian revolution in late January/early February on the BBC and AJE when I was in London was a very different experience from the rather pathetic US news network coverage. If AJE gets inroads into the US I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I think it’s neither good nor bad. They have their own angle and their own perspective to sell. Their coverage of the war in Syria has been shamefully one sided, but that’s to be expected. They are a goverment mouthpiece.

For those in New York area seeking opportunities in broadcasting, new network is now hiring a full staff.