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Al Jazeera acquisition to 'compete with CNN and BBC'

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Al Jazeera has acquired Current TV, the cable television network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore.

Current will be replaced by a new Al Jazeera America news channel based in New York, doubling its US-based staff.

Soon after the deal was announced, Time Warner Cable said it was dropping Current from its line-up.

Media analyst Claire Enders explains that Al Jazeera's decision to expand its distribution in the US "makes sense because the US is the biggest TV market in the world and is a very important nation. It represents about 50 per cent of our total TV revenues, whether by advertising or paid TV."

She compares the US to Qatar: "Al Jazeera doesn't generate revenue now anyway, it is a cost to the Qatari government, it's not a commercial decision, it's a very long term decision from an oil rich state."

She continues: "Al Jazeera wishes to compete with CNN and the BBC...it presents a different perspective on the Arab Israeli conflict."

Nevertheless, Claire Enders believes that Al Jazeera will not do very well because "its been very hard for Al Jazeera to develop any kind of audience in Europe, apart from when there are major events in the Middle East."


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