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- 01-03-2013, 07:38 AM #1
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Al Jazeera Buys Al Gore's Failed Current TV
Al Jazeera Buys Current TV
The Huffington Post | By Katherine Fung and Jack Mirkinson Posted: 01/02/2013 4:53 pm EST | Updated: 01/03/2013 12:41 am EST
Follow: Al Jazeera, Current TV, Al Jazeera Current Tv, Al Jazeera English, Current Tv Al Jazeera, Media News
Al Jazeera has acquired Current TV, the progressive cable news station co-founded by Al Gore.
The news was reported by the New York Times' Brian Stelter on Wednesday. Current had been aggressively looking for a buyer for some months.
Al Jazeera will replace Current's programming with its own network. The Doha-based channel has long sought to extend the reach of its English-language service in the United States. The deal gives the network the ability to get in front of more American viewers, which has been one of its biggest challenges. Al Jazeera English launched in New York City last year, but has previously faced resistance from cable operators in other parts of the country. Though it remains controversial for many, its reporting from the Middle East during and after the Arab Spring gave it a vastly increased profile — and a new credibility — inside the US.
Sources familiar with the talks told the Times that the channel, called "Al Jazeera America," will be based in New York, with the majority of its content created in the United States. The rest of the content would come from Al Jazeera's English-language channel.
Current co-founder Joel Hyatt told staffers that he and Gore were "thrilled" about the deal. In a possible sign of the lingering skittishness over Al Jazeera, he said that Time Warner Cable will not carry the new channel because it had not "consented" to the acquisition. (Some accused Time Warner of political cowardice.) This will leave Al Jazeera with carriage in around 40 million homes.
The purchase brings to an end the many attempts by Gore and his partners to make Current viable over its seven-year existence. The network morphed repeatedly, from a center for short videos to a home for documentary reporting to its last iteration as a staunchly liberal cable news and opinion network. None of the moves proved successful enough. Host Eliot Spitzer put his finger firmly on the problem earlier in December when he told Fishbowl NY, "Nobody's watching, but I'm having a great time."
Still, the deal could benefit Gore quite a bit. Forbes estimated that the former vice president could make at least $125 million from the sale.
Al Jazeera Buys Current TVReporting from FEMA Region IV; Florida, United States of America (BANKSTER Controlled)
- 01-04-2013, 09:55 AM #2
I wonder if they are going to keep Elliot Spitzer.
- 01-04-2013, 12:44 PM #3
Al Jazeera inherits Current TV's distribution woes
By Liana B. Baker and Peter Lauria
Fri Jan 4, 2013 5:56am EST
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Al Jazeera's announced plans to establish a new U.S. cable news channel via the purchase of Current TV isn't even 48 hours old and already it finds itself in a vicious battle to retain distribution rights.
Al Jazeera's acquisition of Current TV is basically a pay-for-distribution play. The Qatar-backed network plans to replace Current TV in the more than 40 million homes where it is currently distributed with its own news network, tentatively dubbed Al Jazeera America. The new network's success is predicated on maintaining, if not increasing, that level of distribution.
One person with knowledge of cable TV deals said pay-TV operators will definitely seek more favorable terms from Al Jazeera since, "no one wanted to carry Current TV and they want to carry an Al Jazeera channel even less."
For instance upon learning of deal, which closed on Wednesday, Time Warner Cable immediately said that it would terminate its contract with Current TV, meaning its customers would not be seeing the new network to be named Al Jazeera America.
On Thursday, however, the company, which ranks as the nation's second largest cable provider with 12 million subscribers, walked back from that stance a bit.
"We are keeping an open mind, and as the service develops, we will evaluate whether it makes sense, for our customers, to launch the network," Time Warner Cable said in a statement.
Al Jazeera has been trying to break into the U.S. cable market for years, but the network has so far failed to gain significant distribution largely for political reasons. The Pan-Arab network had been viewed by many as being anti-American particularly at the height of the U.S. War in Iraq.
Cable industry sources interpreted that statement to mean that Time Warner Cable would be open to distributing Al Jazeera America, just not at the same 12 cents per subscriber per month that Current TV was receiving, media consultancy firm SNL Kagan said.
By comparison, SNL Kagan said Fox News averages 89 cents per subscriber per month, while CNN gets 57 cents and MSNBC collects 18 cents.
Sources said that Dish Network Corp, DirecTV and Comcast Corp are locked into programming deals to carry Current TV for the next few years.
But sources said the distributors, each of which held ownership stakes in Current TV, plan to re-evaluate their agreements once they expire.
Dish, run by billionaire Charlie Ergen, is likely to be a big obstacle that Al Jazeera will have to successfully overcome.
Dish is no stranger to dropping channels.
This past summer, for instance, it blacked out four AMC Networks channels for roughly four months, and Ergen regularly uses the company's earnings calls to rail against rising programming costs.
Brean Murray analyst Todd Mitchell said Dish will likely pounce on the opportunity to renegotiate terms with Al Jazeera, now that the format and the owner of the channel have changed.
"Anytime Dish even gets the scent of leverage, something opens for them to renegotiate, they start to renegotiate," Mitchell said. "This is the Dish way. Anytime they get a moment of leverage, they'll think 'let me get you for cheaper,' and will start negotiating."
A Dish spokesman said the carrier "has ongoing relationships with both Current TV and Al Jazeera and we are evaluating the future plans for Current TV."
Comcast ranks as the nation's largest cable television provider with about 23 million subscribers. DirecTV, with just under 20 million subscribers, and Dish Network, with 14 million subscribers, are the two biggest satellite TV providers. Taken together, those three companies would account for the vast majority of the distribution. (Not every subscriber gets Current TV, as it depends on the programming package they receive.)
The channel will also take over Current TV's distribution of Verizon's FiOS and AT&T U-verse, which together have 8.9 million subscribers.
A DirecTV spokesman declined comment. Comcast said it will continue to carry Current TV as per its affiliate agreement. A representative for Al Jazeera said nine operators will carry the new channel, the largest being Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, AT&T and Verizon.
PAY TO PLAY
Current TV generated an average nightly audience of just 42,000 viewers, steeply below ratings for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, all of which are "fully distributed," meaning they reach more than 90 percent of the 100 million pay-TV households in the United States.
Indeed, part of the reason why Current TV has lasted seven years amid an environment in which low-rated, independently owned networks of its ilk are being dropped by pay-TV distributors is because of the influence wielded by its co-founder, former Vice President Al Gore.
Though Gore will remain an adviser, Al Jazeera America will be negotiating new distribution deals largely without his influence.
Sources said that perhaps the only way for Al Jazeera to prevent being dropped and ensure distribution is to take a page from Rupert Murdoch, who 15 years ago, paid operators to carry Fox News after it was created instead of asking them to pay him. With Qatar's financial resources, it reportedly paid a rich $500 million for Current TV, that could be a viable short-term solution.
"You can buy your way on. It's not unheard of for networks to pay cable operators to get on," said Larry Gerbrandt, principal of Media Valuation Partners, who added that such a move wouldn't be a long-term strategy.
Al Jazeera has not had to offer money for distribution, sources said.
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- 01-04-2013, 06:01 PM #4
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Just more evidence, for the mountain of evidence, that America is now compromised by the Chicoms, and OPEC Cartels working with the Mexican and Columbian drug and illegal alien importing cartels.
WClick here to learn more about William Gheen President of ALIPAC
- 01-05-2013, 08:48 AM #5
- 03-09-2013, 05:46 PM #6
Al Gore’s Al Jazeera Deal Now a Major Scandal
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While the lawsuit over the sale of Al Gore’s Current TV to Al Jazeera is making headlines, a close reading of the legal complaint provides additional evidence that a congressional investigation into the curious transaction is urgently needed and necessary. The media executive who claims to have arranged the sale says the idea was to make the Terror TV channel “palatable to U.S. lawmakers,” a formulation that suggests foreign lobbying on Capitol Hill in order to protect the $500 million payoff......
AL GORE'S AL JAZEERA DEAL NOW A MAJOR SCANDALBy Cliff Kincaid
March 9, 2013
While the lawsuit over the sale of Al Gore’s Current TV to Al Jazeera is making headlines, a close reading of the legal complaint provides additional evidence that a congressional investigation into the curious transaction is urgently needed and necessary.
The media executive who claims to have arranged the sale says the idea was to make the Terror TV channel “palatable to U.S. lawmakers,” a formulation that suggests foreign lobbying on Capitol Hill in order to protect the $500 million payoff to Gore and other owners and investors in Current TV.
The suit says that media executive John Terenzio also proposed smoothing things over with “pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public.”
The other controversial aspect of the deal, as noted by Fox News contributor Lisa Daftari, is that “Al Jazeera America” has announced plans for bureaus in eight cities, including Detroit, Michigan, and that “Detroit, Michigan is a large ex-pat community of Muslim-Americans where [Jihadist] sleeper cells have been detected.”
Detroit has been called the Arab capital of North America.
Because of the danger of inciting Arabs and Muslims into anti-American violence, Accuracy in Media has called on the House Homeland Security Committee, under the chairmanship of Texas Republican Michael McCaul, to investigate the sale and look at the evidence that the channel is a foreign terrorist entity that can be outlawed on U.S. soil. He has refused to do so.
The Al Gore lawsuit constitutes another reason why Congress has to investigate. If Al Gore had paid Terenzio for his services, as the suit alleges, it is likely that the nature of the deal and the private discussions that went into it would never have been made public. Now, however, all of this is on the public record and more damaging details, if Gore doesn’t settle the lawsuit, will almost certainly come out.
The revelations demonstrate how sensitive the deal was in the first place. Terenzio says one of his objectives was to develop “strategies to overcome Al Jazeera’s negative image and make Al Jazeera acceptable to American viewers.” Many members of the public associate Al Jazeera with the videos of Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Al Jazeera aired those videos, as well as interviews with bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders, and is today still regarded as the voice of the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.
In short, the plan was for a massive propaganda campaign to play down the channel’s ties to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and its financing by the pro-Jihadist Arab government of Qatar.Terenzio says he came up with “Al Jazeera America,” a name obviously designed to mask the foreign and Arab nature of the propaganda channel.
The revelations in the suit follow reports that the new channel has been feverishly hiring expensive K Street lobbying firms to stop Congress from investigating the deal, and is hiring dozens of American journalists.
Terenzio says in his lawsuit that he “created a sophisticated PowerPoint presentation” describing the deal and that the structure was "based in large measure on the strategies developed by Terenzio in adapting CCTV [China Central television] for American distribution."
CCTV is the Communist-government funded Chinese state TV channel that has also penetrated the U.S. media market, although in a more limited manner than Al Jazeera.
It appears that Terenzio is an acknowledged expert at getting media access for foreign propaganda channels. His background is quite impressive, as reflected in his official biography. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he is described as "a visiting lecturer at the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications graduate program in Los Angeles, and at the Tsinghua University School of Journalism in Beijing."
In the case of Current TV, his idea was to get Al Jazeera into 40-50 million homes through the acquisition of an existing cable channel, Current TV, an unprecedented development that Terenzio maintains he was not compensated for. It is because of this media coup and the failure of Al Gore and the other owners and investors to pay him for his services that Terenzio has launched his lawsuit demanding at least $5 million in damages.
While the suit proceeds in the courts, the legal questions about the deal provide another opportunity for Congress to exercise oversight and investigate the curious transaction. But the fact that prominent Democrats are involved makes it politically sensitive for Republicans who want to avoid confrontations.
The suit says Terenzio made his presentation to Richard Blum, husband of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, and an investor in Current TV. The suit says that Blum and others involved in Current TV were “concerned about the prospect of losing their shirts” and wanted to find a buyer for their little-watched channel.
The suit says that it was believed that Al Gore would find a sale to Al Jazeera “politically unappealing” but that Blum promised to present it to him.
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe that Gore was adamant in his rejection of the proposal to sell his liberal environmentally friendly network to the oil rich Qataris who owned Al Jazeera,” it says.Al Gore apparently changed his mind. Perhaps the $500 million price tag, with $100 million going to him personally, was a factor.
When the sale was announced, Terenzio says he was caught off-guard and that he had not been informed in advance about it, even though he devised the sale and conceived the name “Al Jazeera America.” He says Current TV “insiders” concede his role in the transaction.
Jerry Kenney, a critic of Al Jazeera, says, “I have requested a copy of that PowerPoint presentation from his lawyer. I would love to see his game plan of how to make propaganda from a country that denies free speech to its own citizens and possibly provides material support to terrorists, ‘palatable’ to Congress and the American public.”
Kenney says Congress should request a copy of this PowerPoint as well.
The new developments add impetus to the effort by Rep. Tim Murphy for answers as to what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did or did not do regarding the deal.
• Please urge Rep. Murphy to accelerate his investigation of the Al Jazeera deal by calling his office at 202-225-2301. Also, it is long overdue for Rep. Michael McCaul to do his duty and announce hearings into this curious transaction. His Committee on Homeland Security can be reached at 202-226-8417.
© 2013 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved
Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues. One of Cliff's books, "Global Bondage: The UN Plan to Rule the World" is still awailable.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.
Web Site: www.AIM.org
http://www.newswithviews.com/Kincaid/cliff702.htmReporting from FEMA Region IV; Florida, United States of America (BANKSTER Controlled)