Souag made his remark during a media roundtable at Al Jazeera’s headquarters today in Doha to discuss the progress of its recently launched US channel, Al Jazeera America (AJAM).
It’s been nearly four months since the channel launched on Aug. 20, to very low television ratings. But because AJAM is so new, Souag, as well as the channel’s interim CEO Ehab Shihabi, stressed that they were not concerned about ratings at the moment.
According to the officials, AJAM has reached a 500,000 daily viewership in its first three months on air. Last month, the New York Post reported that the channel gets some 13,000 viewers a day, and declared that Al Jazeera America was “losing ground in the US” because it had failed to attract an audience.
Shihabi today clarified that the Post‘s figure refers to average viewership during any given time of day, rather than total viewers per day. According to the Financial Times:
“While still small, the numbers are similar to the ratings Fox News and MSNBC tracked during their first year.”
Still, AJAM’s figures are dwarfed by AJAM’s main competitors. According to Shihabi, CNN in the US has an average viewership of some 350,000 people, and 8 million daily viewers.
The AJN director general did not offer any clear timeline for when the new channel is expected to have a critical mass of viewers, but said the current focus is on expanding distribution in the US and developing a high-quality product... see more