Jazeera loses audience share in Egypt, Tunisia

The recently relaunched independent Moroccan website Lakome has an interesting piece [Fr, original Ar here] up today based on an internal al-Jazeera report on what channels are watched around the Arab world. Some of their findings:

 

  • Al Jazeera is still the most watched Arab television channel across the region, with overall growing market share ahead of pan-Arab competitors such as al-Arabiya and (way ahead of) Sky News Arabia.
  • ONTV (a liberal channel owned by billionaire Naguib Sawiris — Update: recently sold by Naguib Sawiris to a Tunisian businessman — that hosts some of the best-regarded talk shows in Egypt, notably Yosri Fouda's Akher Kalam) has taken over al-Jazeera in popularity in Egypt.
  • In Tunisia, Jazeera's audience size went from 950,000 in January 2012 to 200,000 in December 2012, perhaps reflecting the growing anti-Qatar sentiment in the country because of the ruling Ennahda Party's close connections to the emirate. Local channels such as Hannibal are preferred by local TV watchers.
  • Al-Jazeera's bias in its Syria coverage is believed to be one of the reasons for the drop on popularity of the channel

 

What strikes me in this is not so much that al-Jazeera is growing unpopular because of its pro-Islamist slant (which varies across its various channels) but that locally produced and targeted content is getting more attention. This is entirely normal, and reflects the growth in country-specific satellite channels in recent years that can offer more targeted content to viewers and more targeted audiences to advertisers. 

Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention

Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention | Media | guardian.co.uk

AJE forced to redo report on UN to highlight Qatari emir:

Despite protests from staff that the emir's comments – a repetition of previous calls for Arab intervention in Syria – were not the most important aspect of the UN debate, the two-minute video was re-edited and Obama's speech was relegated to the end of the package.

There are hints at staff dissatisfaction within the film, available for viewing on al-Jazeera's website and YouTube, which notes that the emir "represents one of the smallest countries in the Arab world … but Qatar has been one of the loudest voices condemning Syria".

The episode left a bitter taste among staff amid complaints that this was the most heavy-handed editorial intervention at the global broadcaster, which has long described itself as operating independent of its Qatari ownership.

An al-Jazeera spokesman said the emir's speech was "a significant development" that day and the broadcaster "consequently gave it prominence".

Perhaps it should be given consequent prominence when the Emir of Qatar unveils the army he intends to use in Syria.