Washington: In a major development, Al Jazeera has decided to shut down its America operations by April 30.
The cable news launched by the global Qatar-based media group in 2013, will be shut down April 30, the company said.
Here are the key things to know in connection with the big decision
- According to director general Mostefa Souag, the decision was "driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the US media marketplace."
- Mostefa Souag added that the move will be accompanied by an expansion of Al-Jazeera's digital services "to broaden our multi-platform presence in the United States."
- From the start, Al-Jazeera faced a tough sell to US audiences because of its history in the Middle East, where it was the outlet for videos distributed by Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Some conservatives claim it is still anti-Western.
- The move comes amid a growing shift of TV viewers to digital platforms. In news, this includes startups like Vice Media. Al-Jazeera acquired its US cable channel from Current TV, a group that included former vice president Al Gore and reached some 40 million households. The company separately launched an English-language AJ+ digital network in 2014, aiming to connect with younger viewers who are not watching television or reading newspapers.
- The shutdown comes less than three years after a massive investment in a cable news operation aimed at rivaling CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, but which failed to attract significant numbers of viewers.