Monday, January 31, 2011

Should you be interested...

Al Jazeera English


I Want My AJE

“We’re fairly sure our programming is of interest,” said Stebbins, side-stepping a bit. “We knew that we’d be forced to look for non-traditional means of distribution.”

Indeed. Though approximately 120 million homes from Jerusalem to Jakarta to Germany tune in to AJE every day, the station has been all but shut out of the U.S. market. Unless you live in Burlington, Vt., or Northeast Ohio, where two local cable networks defied the industry by adding the channel to their line-ups, the only way to see the channel’s programming is on YouTube, or by paying for either a subscription broadband service or a satellite dish from French company GlobeCast. In Washington, D.C., a tiny satellite company called Washington Cable has the channel available, but so far, its customers — several government agencies, as well as a small number of apartment complexes, including the famed Watergate — don’t want it.

Though spokespeople from TimeWarner, Comcast, and News Corp (which owns DirecTV) refused to speak in any detail about their decision not to carry the channel, those with knowledge of the industry say AJE never had a chance on U.S. soil.

Makes sense. We might actually learn something about American policy in the Arab world. Best if The Great Unwashed stay ignorant.

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