You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Al Jazeera may have to give it away

SNL Kagan: Net may need to drop license fee to gain U.S. foothold

Al Jazeera may have only one option to gain a strong foothold in the U.S.: Drop its license fees down to nothing.

In a new report, SNL Kagan said that Al Jazeera may have to make the move in order to gain widespread carriage in the U.S. The Qatar-based news org completed its acquisition of the low-rated Current TV on Wednesday and was immediately dropped from Time Warner Cable (although TW Cable had made indications pre-sale that it would no longer carry the network).

“We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue,” the report stated.

The deal cost Al Jazeera about $500 million, which works out to about $10 per subscriber, “a decent price for a struggling network like this,” according to analyst Derek Baine. But Baine also noted that the “valuation is quite large given the tenuous nature of the channel’s carriage.”

TW Cable represented 9 million of Current’s 59 million subscribers. While the cabler said it would drop Current “as quickly as possible,” it has seemed to soften that stance a bit.

“We are keeping an open mind and as the service develops, we will evaluate whether it makes sense, for our customers, to launch the network,” TW Cable said in a statement issued Thursday.

Dish Network, DirecTV and Comcast have given no indications that they’re looking to cut carriage of Current TV in light of Wednesday’s acquisition.

SNL Kagan predicted $108 million in revenue and $16.4 million in cash flow for Current prior to TW Cable’s decision to drop the network, but that move has brought the group’s predictions down to break-even, according to the report.

Al Jazeera is perceived by some observers on the right as carrying an anti-Western bias, and its acquisition of the left-leaning network run by former vice president Al Gore and Joel Hyatt has sparked controversy.

On Friday, the Christian Film & Television Commission issued a statement applauding Time Warner Cable’s decision to drop the network and urging viewers not to tune in to Current TV’s programming.

More TV


    Sean Spicer Voted Off 'Dancing With the Stars'

    Sean Spicer will no longer appear on America’s television sets every Monday evening, at least as part of “Dancing With the Stars.” The former White House press secretary was voted off “DWTS” Monday night despite President Donald Trump’s earlier tweet urging the American people to vote for Spicer on ABC’s dancing competition show. The tweet [...]

  • US game show host Alex Trebek

    Alex Trebek Gets Emotional on 'Jeopardy!' After Contestant's Heartfelt Message

    Alex Trebek appeared to tear up on Monday’s episode of “Jeopardy!” after a contestant used his response to a prompt to convey the message “We love you, Alex.” As his answer to one of Monday’s questions, Tournament of Champions semifinalist Dhruv Gaur penned the message with a heart in place of the word “love,” betting [...]

  • Seinfeld

    Alan Horn Remembers How Rick Ludwin Saved 'Seinfeld'

    Rick Ludwin was the unsung hero of “Seinfeld.” That’s how Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman and former head of “Seinfeld” producer Castle Rock Entertainment, remembered the longtime NBC executive who died Nov. 10 at the age of 71. Ludwin was instrumental in getting the beloved “show about nothing” on to NBC as a regular [...]

  • ViacomCBS

    ViacomCBS Exec Shuffle Signals Move Toward $500 Million in Synergy Goals

    The latest cluster of high-level ViacomCBS executive announcements — which included CBS chief creative officer David Nevins and MTV/VH1 chief Chris McCarthy expanding their oversight, and Comedy Central head Kent Alterman exiting — likely constitutes the last round of public leadership shuffling ahead of the close of the Viacom-CBS transaction in early December, according to [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets 'You' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announces the second season premiere date for “You,” and Quibi has named six more cast members joining its upcoming series “The Now.”  CASTING Samantha Richelle, Arthur Acuña (“Princess and I”), Nonie Buencamino (“Sparks”) and Ces Quesada (“Invisible”) have been cast in WGN’s upcoming drama “Almost Paradise.” The four members join previously announced lead cast [...]

  • WGA Agents Packaging Fight Placeholder

    Writers Guild Continues to Slam Agencies Over Affiliate Ownership

    With the Writers Guild of America’s stalemate with talent agencies in its seventh month, the guild has doubled down on the issue of ownership of production. In a message to titled “The Truth About Agency Studios” sent to members Monday, the WGA’s negotiating committee blasted the leading agencies CAA, UTA and WME for owning the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content