Latest update: January 5th, 2013
Al Jazeera executive producer Robert Wheelock told the PBS Newshour that what the network was seeking was not financial rewards, but access to American viewers. “Access, access across this country, across the United States, something that we tried in various forms to gain.” Wheelock admitted that Al Jazeera management has aggressively pursued this kind of access, and they were willing to risk financial instability of the outlet in order to acquire it.
Still, it is possible the Al Jazeera management had not anticipated the extent of bad financial news it has received. After the announcement of the deal, Time Warner decided to drop Al Jazeera from its lineup. This loss is likely to lead to a severe decline in cash flow for the network in 2013, during which it may drop as much as 76%, according to analysts. Based upon this analysis, some say it is possible that Al Jazeera America will have to drop its license fees to $0.
But for an empire like Al Jazeera, whose finances appear limitless, the newly acquired access to the minds of tens of millions of American viewers is apparently priceless.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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