Al Jazeera America to shut down in April

File photo of a man working at a desk in the Al Jazeera America broadcast center in New York. (Reuters)

Al Jazeera America, the cable news cable launched by the global Qatar-based media group in 2013, will be shutting down operations April 30, the company said on Wednesday.

An internal memo from director general Mostefa Souag said the decision was “driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the US media marketplace.”

Souag added that the move will be accompanied by an expansion of Al Jazeera’s digital services “to broaden our multi-platform presence in the United States.”

The shutdown comes less than three years after a massive investment in a cable news operation aimed at rivaling CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, but which failed to attract significant numbers of viewers.

In mid-2013, the channel went live after hiring some 850 staff and opening 12 bureaus in the United States.

The wind down of Al Jazeera America will not affect the rest of the group’s global media operations, the memo said.

The move comes amid a growing shift of TV viewers to digital platforms. In news, this includes startups like Vice Media.

Al Jazeera acquired its U.S. cable channel from Current TV, a group that included former U.S. vice president Al Gore and reached some 40 million households.

The new channel hired high-profile journalists from CNN and other networks and began with 14 hours of news programing.

But surveys found the channel failed to attract many viewers, which meant it could get little in the way of advertising revenues.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47