Al Jazeera America, which is set to launch on Tuesday, will have far fewer commercials than other cable TV news networks.
During a press call on Thursday, Al Jazeera America CEO Ehab Al Shihabi said that the primary goal of the network wasn’t to drive profits, but to deliver unbiased, fact-based news, with “less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings” than its competition.
Translation: Very few companies want to advertise on Al Jazeera America, so we are going to lose our shirt.
The lack of demand for ad time is due to the fact that the network is owned by the Qatari government, and advertisers are skittish about supporting a network that is seen by many as being sympathetic to al Qaeda and other extremist groups and points of view. In addition, the network will reach only about 50 million homes, which is far fewer than the other major cable news networks.
I’m sure this isn’t the kind of start that they were hoping for.