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