Despite hundreds of millions invested by the government of Qatar, Al Jazeera America drew only a tiny fraction of its total audience reach in the first few days of the Aug. 20 launch, preliminary data show.
The highest rated show for AJAM – “Real Money with Ali Velshi” on the evening of Aug. 22 – drew 54,000 viewers, according to data from Nielsen that were obtained by TVNewser, an industry news site.
Nielsen declined to comment.
The TVNewser report also said the Aug. 24 edition of “News Live” at 2 p.m. averaged 48,000 viewers. The debut edition of “The Stream” on Aug. 20 – a talk show using social media for audience participation – averaged 38,000 viewers, it said.
“America Tonight,” one of its key primetime shows, drew 34,000 viewers for its first show.
About 22,000 viewers tuned into the launch hour at 3 p.m. on Aug. 20, and that was below Nielsen’s minimum accuracy threshold, the report said.
Its larger competitors have significantly higher ratings, though the cable news industry has been beset by declining viewership in general. In the second quarter of this year, CNN’s total viewership totaled 477,000. Fox News is the clear leader, with about 1.2 million viewers. MSNBC drew 362,000 viewers.
AJAM, which has about 850 employees, plans to focus on domestic news, but it will tap the resources of other units in the Al Jazeera media network for foreign news coverage.
Earlier this year, Al Jazeera spent about $500 million to buy Current TV, a struggling news channel that was founded by Al Gore, and gutted the channel to install its brand of programming.
Current TV reached about 60 million viewers prior to the acquisition. With Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-Verse subsequently dropping the channel, AJAM currently reaches about 40 million households.
source: USA today