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Al-Jazeera English Launches in New York

Monday, 01 Aug 2011 12:24 PM

 

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By Lucas Shaw

NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - Further popularized and legitimized by the Arab Spring, Al-Jazeera English has incrementally expanded its presence in the U.S. broadcast market, and Sunday revealed its biggest move to date.

Al-Jazeera English is now available to Time Warner subscribers in New York City and will soon be available to Verizon FiOS subscribers in the Big Apple as well, the New York Times reported.

The network is available via satellite across the country, but only on television in specific markets like Washington D.C. and Houston.

While this is only secures the eyeballs of one more American city -- and by subletting space on a small channel -- it is New York City, which is just over a month away from commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Yet it also happens to be the city in which it is most popular.

Al-Jazeera English launched in 2006 as a competitor to CNN International and the BBC, but it long struggled to escape the negative stigma its parent company, Al-Jazeera Arabic, had developed with many Americans. Fair or not, because Al-Jazeera Arabic broadcast videos of hostages taken by terrorists and seemed to have some kind of relationship with those terrorists, many viewed the network as supportive of such groups.

When uprisings and protests jolted North Africa and the Middle East earlier this year, Al-Jazeera English was in position to broadcast all of it with great ability and flexibility.

Americans began to flock to its Web site for the latest developments and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded the network for its commitment to real news rather than punditry.

This increased popularity has led it to add distribution pacts in a few markets, but this is its biggest move yet.

Al-Jazeera English will be simulcast for 23 hours a day on RISE and an hour a day on another channel.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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