Pondering Al Jazeera America From Outside America…

Al Arabiya has an uncredited article which examines the Al Jazeera purchase of Current from an outside the US perspective…or maybe I should be more accurate say a Saudi competitor of the Qatari network perspective…(via DC Internationalist)

Matthew Reed, a principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media in Dubai, said that Al Jazeera faces several challenges in its US push.

“It is quite a risky move,” Reed said of Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Current TV. “There are some negative perceptions about Al Jazeera in some quarters of the US. It’s hard to predict how distributors will react.”

How Al Jazeera fares politically and commercially are two separate issues, Reed said.

The U.S. television market is notoriously tough, and the business of making TV news is incredibly expensive. And so it remains to be seen whether Al Jazeera can sell enough adverts to justify even a fraction of its initial investment.

“[Television news] is a costly business, and competitive. And the media landscape is also changing… The way that people consume media is changing, and broadcasters are having to adapt,” Reed told Al Arabiya in an interview.

Yet the Qatari state-financed Al Jazeera is more concerned with politics than profits, said Mr. Reed.

“There’s no guarantee they will be commercially successful. But Al Jazeera is freer of those constraints than many other companies, because it’s basically financed by the state of Qatar,” he said.

“Al Jazeera is not a regular commercial broadcaster… In a way it’s a foreign-policy tool of Qatar,” he added. “Qatar wants to increase its own regional and international influence, and I think that is part of the explanation behind this move.”

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