Al Jazeera Media Network

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This article is about the corporation. For the television network and channel, see Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera Media Network
Type Private Institution of Public Utility
Industry Mass Media
Founded 1996; 18 years ago (1996)
Founders Wadah Khanfar
Headquarters Doha, Qatar
Key people Chairman Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
Director General Dr. Mostefa Souag
Products Cable Network Programming, Direct-broadcast satellite, Television, New media, Multicultural Education
Employees 100,000+
Subsidiaries News- Al Jazeera Arabic
Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera Mubasher
Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr
Al Jazeera Balkans (Balkans)
Al Jazeera Türk (Turkey)
Al Jazeera America (United States)
Educational- Al Jazeera Documentary Channel
Al Jazeera Children's Channel
Sports- beIN Sport
beIN Sports Arabia
beIN Sports Canada (Canada)
Other- AJ+
Aljazeera.com
Al Jazeera Mobile
Al Jazeera New Media
Al Jazeera Center for Studies
Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival
Website Al Jazeera Media Network Blog

Al Jazeera Media Network is a Middle Eastern multinational multimedia corporation funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar, and is the parent company of Al Jazeera and its related networks. The chairman is Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani.[1][2] The acting director general is Dr. Mostefa Souag. The network currently has a total of 82 bureaus around the world that are shared between the network's channels and operations, the second largest amount of bureaus of any media company in the world after the BBC.

History[edit]

Launch[edit]

The original Al Jazeera Satellite Channel (then called JSC or Jazeera Satellite Channel) was launched on 1 November 1996 following the closure of the first BBC Arabic language television station, then a joint venture with Orbit Communications Company, owned by Saudi King Fahd's cousin, Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud. The BBC channel had closed after a year and a half when the Saudi government attempted to thwart a documentary pertaining to executions under sharia law.[3]

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, provided a loan of QAR 500 million ($137 million) to sustain Al Jazeera through its first five years, as Hugh Miles detailed in his book Al Jazeera: The Inside Story of the Arab News Channel That Is Challenging the West.

Al Jazeera's first day on the air was 1 November 1996. It offered 6-hours of programming per day; this would increase to 12-hours by the end of 1997. It was broadcast to the immediate neighborhood as a terrestrial signal, and on cable, as well as through satellites (which was also free to users in the Arab world). 1 January 1999 was Al Jazeera's first day of 24-hour broadcasting.[4] Employment had more than tripled in one year to 500 employees, and the agency had bureaus at a dozen sites as far as EU and Russia. Its annual budget was estimated at about $25 million at the time.

Expansion[edit]

Al Jazeera English[edit]

Main article: Al Jazeera English

In 2003, Al Jazeera hired its first English-language journalists, among whom was Afshin Rattansi,[5] from the BBC's Today Programme.

In March 2003, it launched an English-language website.[6] (see below)

On 4 July 2005 Al Jazeera officially announced plans to launch a new English-language satellite service to be called Al Jazeera International.[7] The new channel started at 12h GMT on 15 November 2006 under the name Al Jazeera English and has broadcast centers in Doha (next to the original Al Jazeera headquarters and broadcast center), London, Kuala Lumpur and Washington D.C. The channel is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week news channel, with 12 hours broadcast from Doha, and four hours each from London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C.

Al Jazeera launched an English language channel, originally called Al Jazeera International, in 2006. Among its staff were journalists hired from ABC's Nightline and other top news outfits. Josh Rushing,[8] a former media handler for CENTCOM during the Iraq war, agreed to provide commentary; David Frost was also on board.[9][10] In an interesting technical feat, the broadcast of the new operation was handed off between bases in Doha, London, Washington, D.C., and Kuala Lumpur on a daily cycle.

The new English language venture faced considerable regulatory and commercial hurdles in the North America market for its perceived sympathy with extremist causes.[11][12][13] At the same time, others felt Al Jazeera's competitive advantage lay in programming in the Arabic language. There were hundreds of millions of potential viewers among the non-Arabic language speaking Muslims in Europe and Asia, however, and many others who might be interested in seeing news from the Middle East read by local voices. If the venture panned out, it would extend the influence of Al Jazeera, and tiny Qatar, beyond even what had been achieved in the station's first decade. In an interesting twist of fate, the BBC World Service was preparing to launch its own Arabic language station in 2007.

Speciality channels[edit]

Wadah Khanfar, Former Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network

In 2004 Al Jazeera expanded into the world of sports with the establishment of Al Jazeera Sports (now called beIN Sports Arabia to be consistent with their branding in other markets) and the building of 8 Arabic language specialty sports channels. That was followed by the building of the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel an Arabic language documentary channel, Al Jazeera Mubasher, a live politics and public interest channel (similar to C-SPAN, Houses of the Oireachtas Channel or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences in real time without editing or commentary the first channel of its kind in the Middle East.

In 2011 Al Jazeera Media Network created Al Jazeera Balkans, a version of Al Jazeera in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language(s) stationed in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina catering to and broadcasting around the Balkans. In 2013 they announced the creation of Al Jazeera Türk, a version of Al Jazeera that will be in the Turkish language(s) stationed in Istanbul catering to and broadcasting around Turkey. On January 22, 2014 Al Jazeera Turk`s website launched with news content. The move made Al Jazeera Turk the first 24 hour news operation to go digital before broadcast.[14]

Al Jazeera's London Studio

beIN Sport[edit]

Main article: beIN Sport

beIN Sport is a global network of sports channels jointly owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al Jazeera Media Network and American media company Turner Broadcasting System, a subsidiary of Time Warner. It currently operates three channels in France – beIN Sport 1, beIN Sport 2 and beIN Sport MAX – and launched two channels in the United States (English and Spanish) in August 2012.[15] The channel also holds Canadian broadcast rights to several sports properties despite not yet having authorization to broadcast in Canada.

In France, beIN Sport holds the rights to broadcast major association football tournaments on French television, including Ligue 1, Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League and the European Football Championships. In the United States and Canada, beIN Sport holds the rights to broadcast La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Copa del Rey, South American World Cup Qualifier and English Championship matches, in addition to Barca TV.[16]

On 1 January 2014, Al Jazeera Sports was renamed beIN Sports Arabia to have consistency with all of Al Jazeera Media Network's sports properties.[17] Also in 2014 Al Jazeera Media Network came to an agreement with Ethnic Channels Group to launch beIN Sports Canada which based out of Toronto is available on satellite and various cable systems across Canada.

Al Jazeera America[edit]

Main article: Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America is an American version of Al Jazeera English. The channel launched on 20 August 2013 exclusively on cable and satellite systems in the United States.

On 2 January 2013, Al Jazeera Media Network announced that it purchased Current TV in the United States and would be launching an American news channel. Originally 60% of the channel's programming would be produced in America while 40% would be from Al Jazeera English, that has since changed to almost all the content being U.S. originated.

In a news release, Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said, "By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the U.S., as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America ... We look forward to working together with our new cable and satellite partners to serve our new audiences across the U.S." The new channel is said to be providing mainly domestic but also international news for an American audience. Al Jazeera plans to open new bureaus across the United States and increase the network's staff in the United States to over 800 employees.

Though Current TV had large distribution throughout the United States on cable and satellite TV, it averaged only 28,000 viewers at any time.[18] The acquisition of Current TV by Al Jazeera allowed Time Warner Cable to drop the network due to its low ratings, but released a statement saying that they would consider carrying the channel after they evaluated whether it made sense for their customers.[19][20][21][22][23][24] The channel was later added to Time Warner and Bright House Networks lineups after a new carriage deal was agreed upon.

Restructuring[edit]

Al Jazeera's former Knightsbridge London Control Room

Al Jazeera restructured its operations to form a Network that contains all their different channels. Wadah Khanfar, then the managing director of the Arabic Channel, was appointed as the Director General of the Al Jazeera Network. He also acted as the Managing Director of the Arabic channel. Khanfar resigned on 20 September 2011 proclaiming that he had achieved his original goals, and that 8 years was enough time for any leader of an organization, in an interview aired on Aljazeera English.

On 26 November 2009, Al Jazeera English received approval from the CRTC, which enables Al Jazeera English to broadcast via satellite in Canada.[25]

In 2011, in accordance with the renaming of the corporation, AJMN was legally re-designated from a "public institution to a 'private institution of public utility,'" however it was unknown how this would effect editorial management and funding.[26][27]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Television[edit]

Al Jazeera media network operates a number of specialty channels besides its original flagship news channel.

Al Jazeera network's TV channels include:[28]

Launched in Website
Al Jazeera the original international Arabic-language 24h news channel 1 November 1996 aljazeera.net/channel
beIN Sport / beIN Sports Arabia originally a popular Arabic-language sports channel, Now in several languages and regions 2003 and 2012 beinsports.net
beIN Sports Arabia +1 2004
beIN Sports Arabia +2 2004
beIN Sports Arabia +3 2008
beIN Sports Arabia +4 2008
beIN Sports Arabia +5 August 2009
beIN Sports Arabia +6 August 2009
beIN Sports Arabia +7 August 2009
beIN Sports Arabia +8 August 2009
beIN Sports Arabia HD
beIN Sports 24 Hour Sports News Channel (several languages)
beIN Sport In France, United States, Indonesia and Russia. 2012 http://www.beinsport.fr, http://www.beinsport.tv
beIN Sports Canada 2014 http://www.beinsportsplay.tv/
Al Jazeera Mubasher (a.k.a. Al Jazeera Live) a live politics and public interest channel (similar to C-SPAN, Houses of the Oireachtas Channel or BBC Parliament), which broadcasts conferences in real time without editing or commentary 2005 mubasher.aljazeera.net
Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr a version of Al Jazeera Mubasher focused on Egypt 2011 mubasher-misr.aljazeera.net
JeemTV a children's interest channel 2013 jeemtv.net
Al Jazeera English a global English-language 24h news channel 2006 aljazeera.com
Al Jazeera Documentary Channel an Arabic language documentary channel 2007 doc.aljazeera.net
Al Jazeera Balkans a version of Al Jazeera in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language(s) stationed in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina catering to and broadcasting around the Balkans 2011 balkans.aljazeera.com
Al Jazeera America a version of Al Jazeera that is based in and completely operated out of the United States, airing domestic and international news. 2013 america.aljazeera.com
Pending Channels Description and Region Year Website
Al Jazeera Türk a version of Al Jazeera that will be in the Turkish language(s) stationed in Istanbul catering to and broadcasting around Turkey. Currently online only. 2014 (Under construction) aljazeera.com.tr
Al Jazeera Kiswahili Kiswahili version of Al Jazeera to be based in East Africa. (Under construction) aljazeerakiswahili.com
Other entities Description Year Website
AJ+ English language digital online only news channel based primarily on it's mobile app and YouTube 2014 ajplus.net
Al Jazeera Training Center an Arabic language, Graphics and Media Training Center 2004 training.aljazeera.net
Al Jazeera Center for Studies A Think Tank that conducts research and in depth analysis of current affairs at both regional and global levels 2006 studies.aljazeera.net

Other Operations[edit]

Al Jazeera Office, Kuala Lumpur

Mobile[edit]

Al Jazeera Media network also operates mobile apps for their various channels with Al Jazeera Mobile and Al Jazeera New Media

Online[edit]

The network operates Aljazeera.com which is the main website for the Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera America and Al Jazeera Balkans web sites. For its Arabic language properties it has Aljazeera.net. and for its Turkish properties Aljazeera.tr.

Al Jazeera Media Network also has a digital online only news channel AJ+. The channel is an online only news channel primarily on YouTube operated by Al Jazeera New Media out of San Francisco, California. The channel will has no anchors and is dependent on live video. The channel consists of mostly On Demand content. It launched on 13 June 2013 with a new webpage, Facebook page and videos on YouTube. There are also plans to also develop Arabic and Turkish language versions of the channel.

Education[edit]

Al Jazeera Media Network owns and operates the Al Jazeera Center for Studies [1]. Established in 2006, the Al Jazeera Center for Studies conducts in-depth analysis of current affairs at both regional and global levels. Its research agenda focuses primarily on geo-politics and strategic developments in the Arab world and surrounding regions.[29] The center with an extensive network of distinguished researchers, and a wide range array of experts from across the globe, the center aims to promote dialogue and build bridges of mutual understanding and cooperation between cultures, civilizations, and religions.

The center also contains the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center.

Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival[edit]

The Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival[2] is an annual film festival held at the Doha Sheraton in Doha, Qatar. The first festival was held on 18 April 2005. Every year the festival has a different theme. The vision of the festival is to make the festival an invitation…. to introduce different cultures from all over the world, foster better relationships through an exchange of experiences and knowledge thus creating a foundation of respect and understanding. Al Jazeera seeks to make the festival become a place where filmmakers from different countries and cultures meet to create a unique platform that celebrates creative talent and encourages a cultural interest in documentary films.

The festival endeavors to promote creative talent from all over the world and in this way, leave behind a unique stamp of originality and professionalism.[30]

Lawsuit against AT&T[edit]

Al Jazeera Media Network sued AT&T in 2013 for refusing to carry its America channel, claiming this was in violation of their contract.[31]

Al Jazeera Media Network sued AT&T over contracts AT&T tried to illegally pursue in 2003.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mofa.gov.qa". 
  2. ^ Robert F. Worth (4 January 2008). "Al Jazeera". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "AL JAZEERA TV: The History of the Controversial Middle East News Station Arabic News Satellite Channel History of the Controversial Station". Allied-media. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "A decade of growth". Al Jazeera English. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Afshinrattansi.com". Afshinrattansi. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  6. ^ aljazeera.com[dead link]
  7. ^ "Al Jazeera turns its signal West". Web.archive. 10 July 2005. Archived from the original on 10 July 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Matthew Power (June 2006). "Josh Rushing: From USMC to Al Jazeera". Matthew Power: GQ. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Deborah Soloman (12 February 2006). "Bye-Bye, BBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "David Frost joins al-Jazeera TV". BBC News. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Jamal Dajani (21 November 2006). "Al Jazeera English Falls Short of Expectations". New America Media. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Tony Burman (17 November 2006). "Al-Jazeera should be available in Canada". CBC. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "Al-Jazeera English TV date set". BBC News. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  14. ^ Nick Vivarelli. (21 January 2014). Al Jazeera Expands Global Footprint With Turkish Digital Operation Variety. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  15. ^ Al Jazeera to Kick Off Pair of Soccer Channels in U.S. this August Bleacher Report, 2 June 2012
  16. ^ http://beinsport.tv/
  17. ^ http://www.broadcastprome.com/news/al-jazeera-sport-renamed-bein-sports/
  18. ^ Stelter, Brian (13 January 2012). "Current TV Finds a Good Number Within Its Tiny Ratings". New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Ali Velshi Joins Al Jazeera America". Al Jazeera. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Al Jazeera buys Al Gore's Current TV". CNN. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Al Jazeera buys Current TV in bid for US airtime". RT News. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Al Jazeera buys US channel Current TV". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Al Jazeera targets US expansion after buying Current TV". BBC. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  24. ^ "Time Warner Cable Will Consider Carrying Al Jazeera's U.S. Network". Huffington Post. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "Al-Jazeera English gets CRTC approval". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  26. ^ Chris Forrester (15 July 2011). "Al Jazeera "restructures" ahead of expansion". Advanced Television. 
  27. ^ Habib Toumi (13 July 2011). "Al Jazeera turning into private media organisation". Gulf News. 
  28. ^ Lyngsat page showing, among others, Al Jazeera's channels
    Lyngsat page showing Qatari TV channels, including Al Jazeera's
  29. ^ Al Jazeera
  30. ^ Festival Al Jazeera.
  31. ^ "Al Jazeera Sues AT&T Over Contract Dispute as New Network Launches". Deadline. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 

External links[edit]