Al Jazeera’s coverage of the political turmoil in Egypt might prove to be a decisive factor in getting US cable distribution for the channel. So far, there has been little interest from US cable operators to carry the English language version of the news channel.
In the US, where Al Jazeera English is not available on major cable, DTH or IPTV platforms, viewers are accessing the live stream of the broadcaster to follow events in Egypt. Responding to a growing demand, particularly since the beginning of its Egypt coverage, Al Jazeera English launched an online Demand Al Jazeera campaign on Thursday, which allowed visitors to its website to request that their cable providers carry Al Jazeera English.
The broadcaster claims that in just 24 hours, over 10,000 emails have been sent from Americans across the country. More than 300,000 people have mentioned or referenced Al Jazeera on Twitter since the network started using promoted features on the site. Over 5,000 joined the campaign on Twitter on February 4, using #demandaljazeera, and directing followers to the Demand Al Jazeera website.
The Al Jazeera English website has received unprecedented traffic over the past week. Alexa, the Web Information Company owned by Amazon.com, reported that the Al Jazeera website surpassed the NewYork Times website in reach last week.
Mohamed Nanabhay, the head of online for Al Jazeera English said in a statement, “The US response to our coverage has been phenomenal and our cosmopolitan appeal clearly speaks to an international audience. We remain committed to making our coverage accessible to as many people as possible and are humbled that our audience has taken up the call to demand that cable providers carry Al Jazeera English.”