Al Jazeera Media Network is to launch a U.S.-based news channel, after acquiring Current TV, the American cable network co-founded by Al Gore, for an undisclosed sum.
The new, as-yet-untitled news channel will be made available on Current’s distribution network when at some point this year. Al Jazeera says there will be “a transition from existing programming until the new Al Jazeera channel begins to air.”
In a statement, Al Jazeera director general Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said: “For many years, we understood that we could make a positive contribution to the news and information available in and about the United States and what we are announcing today will help us achieve that goal.
“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.”
Al Jazeera added that its decision to create a States-based channel was based in part on the fact that almost 40% of all online viewing of Al Jazeera English currently comes from the U.S.
The new channel will be headquartered in New York City. In addition to the existing Al Jazeera news bureaus in NYC, Washington DC, LA, Miami and Chicago, the company plans to open additional bureaus in key locations across the States.
Al Jazeera’s expansion will see the network’s U.S.-based staff double to more than 300 employees, it said. The new net adds to an Al Jazeera Media Network portfolio that currently includes Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Balkans, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera Mubasher, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr (Egypt Live) and Al Jazeera Mobile.
As part of the network’s expansion, it is also planning to launch Al Jazeera Turk for the Turkish-speaking region in 2013.
Bin Jassim Al Thani said: “Our commitment to the voice of the voiceless, bringing stories from under-reported regions across the world and putting the human being at the center of our news agenda is at the heart of what we do.
“Everyone at Al Jazeera takes great pride in the independence, impartiality, professionalism and courage of our journalism. I look forward to bringing these standards to our new American audiences and working with our new colleagues at Current.”