Docs

Al Jazeera America to shut down

U.S. cable net Al Jazeera America is to shut down by April 30, but its global parent company says it aims to ramp up "a new digital drive in the U.S. market."
January 13, 2016

U.S. cable net Al Jazeera America (AJAM) is to shut down in April, the company has officially confirmed.

Employees at the New York-headquartered outlet – formed by the Qatar-based news agency in August 2013 – were informed of the decision in a staff meeting this afternoon.

Top execs reportedly informed staff that the channel will officially close on April 30. In an internal memo first reported by The New York Times, CEO Al Anstey wrote that the decision is driven by a business model that is increasingly unsustainable in a digital world.

The exec added, however, that the network plans to expand its global digital services later this year bringing new global content to the U.S.

The channel has 12 bureaus in cities across the U.S. and employs around 900 journalists and staff.

Members of AJAM’s documentary outfit were most recently on hand at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), where Cynthia Kane was among the commissioners commenting on doc projects at the Central Pitch roundtable.

The cable channel in November acquired the documentary Motley’s Law at DOC NYC, which it slated to air in February. Other recent documentaries on AJAM include Hard Earned, Saving Mes Aynak and Guantanamo’s Child.

 

More follows.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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