Sunday, March 27, 2016 1:54 pm
Broadcaster Al-Jazeera said on Sunday that it is to shed around 500 jobs, most of them at its Qatar headquarters, as part of a “workforce optimisation initiative.”
Al-Jazeera said in a statement that after a management review it was “expected that around 500 positions worldwide will be impacted, the majority of which are in Qatar”.
The announcement comes just two months after the company said it would also shut Al-Jazeera America, with effect from 30 April.
CEO Al Anstey said that the move to shut down “is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.”
The network was created by Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Co. in a bid to expand its services to the U.S. with a focus of presenting an alternative news source that would compete with big names like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
Al Jazeera, with funding from the Qatar government, had purchased Current cable outlet for a cool $500 million from former U.S. vice president Al Gore and partners. The purchase was made in 2013 and it was renamed to Al Jazeera America, a move made in August of the same year.
The channel, however, failed to pull in a big viewership as it presented the usual faces that many viewers had been accustomed to on NBC, MSNBC, and CNN. The station connects to 60 million satellite and cable homes and boasts of an average of 30,000 viewers, falling short of other fully distributed networks that reach 90 million homes or more, on average.