Al Jazeera America to shut down

Al Jazeera America, AJAM
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Al Jazeera America is shutting its doors less than three years after making a massive investment in the U.S. media market, an end for the cable news channel beset with meager ratings and internal strife.

Chief executive Al Anstey told employees in a companywide meeting Wednesday that the “decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace,” according to The New York Times.

{mosads}Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera bought Al Gore’s Current TV in August 2013 for $500 million in order to launch its American operation. The channel will officially close its doors in April.

The channel struggled from the beginning to garner meaningful viewership and stand out in a crowded American media market. It averaged an abysmal 30,000 viewers in prime-time spots and sometimes a zero rating in the key 25–54 demographic.

The closure also comes as the network’s financial backer, the Qatari government, has struggled financially amid falling oil prices.

Behind the scenes, employees often complained that editors had created a culture of fear in order to avoid any hints of bias.

The network was also hit by a pair of lawsuits from former employees alleging sexism and anti-Semitism.

Al Jazeera America last month published an in-depth investigation on doping in American sports, alleging Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and other star athletes received shipments of human growth hormone, a banned performance-enhancing drug.

Manning has vociferously denied the accusation and said he plans to sue the channel over the allegation.

Tags Al Gore Al Jazeera America Peyton Manning Qatar
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