Reports: Al Jazeera Has Acquired SF-Based Current TV
Update at 3:50 p.m. Wednesday: Citing a Current TV memo, Stelter reports that the deal has now been completed.
Al Jazeera is finalizing a deal to acquire Current TV, the San Francisco-based television production company co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore, according to newspaper reports.
New York Times blogger Brian Stelter writes that Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha, Qatar, wants Current TV’s U.S. distribution channels. Current TV has been struggling to get viewers.
We contacted Current TV and got this statement from Brooke Stevenson: “There’s nothing confirmed in regards to the sale, and there is no one available that I can refer you to, apologies!”
Stelter reports that Al Jazeera has been looking to expand its viewership in the United States.
If the deal is completed, Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms. Current is available in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.
Rather than simply use Current to distribute its existing English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. Potentially called Al Jazeera America, roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.
The Los Angeles Times has also reported the deal.