Al-Jazeera America launches to poor audience ratings

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Al-Jazeera’s newly launched American TV network attracted poor audience figures in its first full week, according to data provided by market research company Nielsen.

On Monday, Al-Jazeera America’s (AJAM) prime-time show “America Tonight” drew in just 27,000 viewers. In comparison, Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” attracted 2.97 million, MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow” bagged 970,000, and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper” drew 627,000, reported Variety magazine, citing data provided by Nielsen.


AJAM’s most popular show of the week was last Thursday night’s “Real Money with Ali Velshi,” which drew 54,000 viewers, according to U.S. media reports.

The channel’s launch hour, 3pm on Aug. 20, averaged 22,000 viewers. However, this figure is essentially an estimate as it is below Nielsen’s minimum accuracy threshold, reported Arabian Business.

AJAM’s Aug. 24 edition of “News Live” at 2pm averaged 48,000 viewers while the debut edition of “The Stream” on Aug. 20 - a talk show using social media to encourage audience participation - averaged 38,000 viewers, according to a report by TVNewser, an industry news site.

The 24-hour network was established after Al-Jazeera’s $500m acquisition of Current TV, a struggling channel founded by former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore.

To prepare for the launch, AJAM assembled a team of 900 employees, ABC executive Kate O’Brian serves as its president and former CNN anchor Ali Velshi was drafted in to buoy viewership, reported Arabian Business.

Operating out of 12 bureaus across the U.S., AJAM is currently broadcast in 40 million homes after losing several million homes when AT&T, an American multinational telecommunications corporation which provides subscription television services, dropped the network on launch day.

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