Al Jazeera English to launch tomorrow

I'm not in the habit of putting up press releases, but this one about the launch -- finally! -- of Al Jazeera English (note that it's no longer Al Jazeera International, apparently the Emir of Qatar decided the whole Al Jazeera group was international, not just the English channel). Considering that AJE has changed not only its name but also its formula since it was announced over a year ago, there might be some surprises in store. The final product seems less ambitious than originally intended -- there will be more time in Doha and less of the 360 around-the-globe stuff they'd bragged about (which seemed like marketing speak to me anyway.) But I have to admit I'm excited to see what they're going to do with this channel and whether it'll be more interesting than the soporific, badly produced BBC World or the rather bland CNN International.


AL JAZEERA ENGLISH TO LAUNCH TOMORROW
-Worldwide distribution unveiled ahead of launch



Tuesday 14 November 2006, Al Jazeera English, the first English language international news and current affairs channel headquartered in the Middle East, launches tomorrow Wednesday November 15th at 12.00 GMT to over 80 million cable and satellite households worldwide.

Broadcast across the globe, Al Jazeera English will far exceed its original launch target of 40 million cable and satellite homes. It will be distributed across all continents throughout the world and in addition to cable and satellite will be available on broadband IPTV, ADSL, terrestrial and mobile phone platforms.

Major distributors of the channel include:
Canal Sat and TPS France
Kabel Deutschland Germany
Kabel BW Germany
HK Broadband Hong Kong
YES TV Israel
Sky Italia Italy
Astro Malaysia
Canal Digitaal The Netherlands
ORCUS New Zealand
Canal Digitaal Nordic Region
Digital Satellite
(Sky Guide 514) United Kingdom
Globecast United States

Wadah Khanfar, the Director General of the Al Jazeera Network stated, “Our launch figure is over double the original target we set for ourselves and is unprecedented in the broadcasting industry - no other international news channel has launched with such a high number of homes across the world. We will continue to build on this figure after launch and will be looking to expand our reach significantly. This is another reflection of the strength of the Al Jazeera brand.”

Commercial Director of Al Jazeera English Language Channel, Lindsey Oliver said, “I am absolutely delighted that our efforts have paid off and that Al Jazeera English will be launching with over 80 million cable and satellite households. We particularly appreciate the support that has been shown far and wide with distributors signing up to carry Al Jazeera English on the reputation of the Al Jazeera brand, our stated goals, our on air and off air teams, and without having seen the channel on air.”

In addition to cable, ADSL, mobile platforms and satellite, Al Jazeera English will be available as a live stream to the one billion users of the Internet worldwide. Al Jazeera’s English language website, aljazeera.net/english will be re-launched with the launch of the English language channel at 12.00 GMT tomorrow, to reflect the channel’s look and feel and editorial content. It will provide live streams of the channel together with RSS feeds, e-mail newsletters and interactive discussion boards. RealNetworks will provide Internet users with a free live stream of the channel. Users will also be able to access a high bandwidth stream via subscription from Real, and a high bandwidth pay-as-you-go service will also be available.


The Complete list of Al Jazeera English launch platforms is as follows:

Afghanistan
Tolo TV

Australia
Transact
UBI TV

Belgium
TV Vlaanderen

Bosnia & Herzegovina
Dzemo
H & S

Bulgaria
MSAT
SKAT

Croatia
Vodatel

Cyprus
Primetel

Denmark
Canal Digitaal


Estonia
Elion Ettevotted AS
AS STV
Teleset AS
City TV

Finland
Canal Digitaal
TTV/Elisa Co-operation Pool

France
TPS
Canal Sat
Neuf/Cegetel
Free
T Online
Tele 2
NOOS

Germany
KDG (including Premiere)
Premiere Subscribers (FTA Digital Feeds)
DNMG (various smaller operators in Germany)
Kabel BW – Land Baden-Wuerttemberg
HanseNet Telekommunikation GmbH - Hamburg
netcologne GmbH Broadband – Cologne
Kabel Kiosk (Eutelsat)
Telecolumbus – Berlin, and other areas

Ghana
Metro TV

Greece
Nova
Teledome DSL

Honduras
Cable Sula

Hong Kong
HK Broadband

Indonesia
XL

Ireland
Digital satellite

Israel
YES
Pelephone, Cellcom, Orange

Italy
Sky Italia

Jordan
Jump TV

Kenya
Nation TV

Kuwait
United Network Company

Latvia
Baltkom
IZZI

Lebanon
Cablevision

Lithuania
Balticum

Malaysia
ASTRO

Maldives
Media Net

Malta
Multiplus

Middle East
NileSat (including subscribers to the Showtime network)
ArabSat

New Zealand
ORCUS

Norway
Canal Digitaal
Consoll IPTV
Next GenTel

Poland
Cyfra Plus
Cyfrowy Polsat
Toya (Lodz)

Portugal
Novis

Qatar
Qatar Cable

Romania
iNES Group
DTH Group

South Africa
Vodacom

Spain
Jazztelia TV
Orange TV
ZTV – Marina

Sweden
Com Hem
Canal Digitaal

Switzerland
NAXOO

Thailand
Buddy TV

The Netherlands
Canal Digitaal
Essent
Xtra Televisie

Turkey
Turksat

United Arab Emirates
Etisalat
Evision

United Kingdom
Digital satellite (Sky Guide 514)
Vingo

United States of America
GlobeCast
Fision
Jump TV
VDC

Uganda
Nation TV

-ENDS-



Notes to Editors:

If you are not a subscriber to one of the above systems, you can still access the channel from one of the satellites below or through our live web streaming on www.aljazeera/english.net

LIST OF AL JAZEERA ENGLISH WORLDWIDE SATELLITES

-Hotbird 6 – Europe
-Hispasat 1 C – Spain
-Eurobird 1 – UK
-Astra 1KR – Europe
-Badr 2 – MENA
-Badr C – MENA
-Nilesat 101 – MENA
-Thor III – Nordic Region
-PAS10 – India
-Turksat 2A – Turkey
-Asiasat 3S – Asia
-Optus C1 – Australia
-Optus B3 – Australia
-PAS9 – Americas
-IA 13 – Americas
-IA 5 - Americas

About Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Broadcasting from within the Middle East, looking outwards, Al Jazeera English will set the news agenda and act as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC, Al Jazeera English will balance the information flow from South to North, providing accurate, impartial and objective news for a global audience from a grass roots level, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.

Al Jazeera English is building on the ground-breaking heritage of its sister Arab-language channel – Al Jazeera, which was responsible for changing the face of news within the Middle East, now extending that fresh perspective from regional to global.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.