Al Jazeera America Gives Up, Will Shut Down
Al Jazeera America is shutting down after less than two-and-a-half years of operation, a victim of tanking oil prices that left its owners unable to finance the virtually-unwatched cable channel.
According to Politico, staffers at Al Jazeera America learned of the closure Wednesday during a staff meeting, where they were told the channel’s business model was “no longer sustainable.” The channel will cease broadcasting by the end of April.
Seeking to put a positive spin on things, Al Jazeera itself announced that the company will be expanding its digital offerings to make up for the loss of its American wing.
Al Jazeera broke into the U.S. media market in 2013 when it bought Current TV, a cable news channel owned by Al Gore, for $500 million. The company went all-out to establish itself as a significant player in U.S. news, with an office in Manhattan and talent hired from mainstream U.S. news outlets. The company marketed itself as a more serious news outlet that could serve as an alternative to the sensationalism of MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.