Al Gore sold Current TV to Al Jazeera for $500 million. I don’t about you, but I have never seen that channel and don’t know a single person who ever has. Guess what: Al gets $100 million out of this deal.
It is interesting that this deal permits Al Jazeera to gain access to “40 million homes in the United States,” reports the The New York Times in its article, “Gore Went to Bat for Al Jazeera, and Himself.”
The New York Times also reported:
Al Gore’s Current TV was never popular with viewers, but it was a hit where it counted: with cable and satellite providers. When he co-founded the channel in 2005, Mr. Gore managed to get the channel piped into tens of millions of households — a huge number for an untested network — through a combination of personal lobbying and arm-twisting of industry giants.
The Associated Press video, via USA Today, tells more:
The A.P. story accompanying the photo above adds:
Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a new channel called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.
Al-Jazeera spokesman Stan Collender said there are no rules against foreign ownership of a cable channel — unlike the strict rules limiting foreign ownership of free-to-air TV stations. He said the move is based on demand, adding that 40% of viewers on Al-Jazeera English’s website are from the U.S. …
Al-Jazeera is clearly making a sharp move after a long struggle to gain access to an audience in the United States. Personally, I hope that my cable carrier provides the channel. After all, as we all can, we can listen to news on a wide variety of channels and discern for ourselves what is the best information.
One of my personal dreams is that, someday, cable and satellite companies in the U.S. will offer more programming from other countries. For example, I would like to receive a cable package that includes programming from Canada and the U.K. For the past year, I have received a free subscription to Starz and Encore.
Last year, Encore purchased “Crimson Petal and the White,” a brilliant portrayal of the realities of life in the Victorian era. The four-part series came from the BBC. I also wish that I could see the many fine documentaries that air on the BBC.
If you follow this link to the Crimson Petal and the White, you will find a way to see the series via instant video and DVD, as well as read the novel.
I realize this is a bit off-topic, but I found this series compelling and wish there were an easier way to see BBC’s fine programming.
At any rate, I found this story of Al Gore’s sale rather amusing. His ability to sell a channel that probably few people watch is rather surprising although, as I said above, it is a smart move by Al Jazeera, which a great many people I know like to follow via its Web site and e-mails.