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Published: Thursday, 10/24/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Time Warner Cable to carry Al Jazeera America

LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES — Time Warner Cable, one of the nation’s biggest pay-TV distributors with millions of subscribers in New York and Los Angeles, has agreed to carry the news channel Al Jazeera America.

The agreement, unveiled today, means that the channel, owned by the Qatar-based media company Al Jazeera, will reach a total of nearly 55 million homes.

“It has been a pleasure working with TWC over the past few months as their executives evaluated our programming and commitment to fact-based, in-depth reporting,” Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera America’s interim chief executive, said in a statement.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The companies said that the channel will roll out to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks customers over the next six months. That will make Al Jazeera America availble to more people in big markets including New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Al Jazeera America launched without the cable giant in August. It has pitched itself as a destination for serious news programming to challenge CNN, Fox News and MSNBC on their own turf, and it has opened 12 bureaus around the country and hired some high-profile journalists.

“We said in January that we would consider Al Jazeera America. Now that the channel is live, we think that it would be of value to our customers and are pleased to make it available,” Melinda Witmer, Time Warner Cable’s chief video and content officer, said in a statement.

The channel debuted to some mixed reviews and low ratings, drawing an average of about 22,000 in its first airing, when it could reach only about 45 million homes.

The Time Warner Cable deal adds to Al Jazeera America’s current carriage agreements with DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon Fios, RCN Cable and Comcast. Holdouts include some of the bigger carriers, such as Charter, Cox and Cablevision.

Shortly after the launch, the company sued AT&T for not carrying the network on its U-verse pay-TV system. The suit is pending.


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