Al Jazeera America may be shutting down, but Al Jazeera’s digital offspring AJ+ is alive and well: AJ+ launched an app on Apple TV Tuesday. This is the first time AJ+ has launched an app on a TV-connected device to bring its videos to the big screen.
AJ+ launched as a mobile-centric video service targeting viewers that don’t tune in to traditional cable news anymore in September of 2014. Initially, the service focused primarily on its own mobile app, but it has since also become a huge hit on Facebook. In 2015, it generated some 2.2 billion video views on the social network alone, according to a recent Digiday report.
This success is in stark contrast to the demise of Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera’s flagship cable news property in the U.S. The Qatar-based media organization announced last week that it was shutting down Al Jazeera America by the end of April.
The network got its start through a $500 million acquisition of Current, the news network co-founded by former vice president Al Gore. But Al Jazeera America struggled to retain its distribution deals, and reached only minuscule audiences.
Al Jazeera said last week that it was committed to investing into digital platforms. AJ+ is one of them, but the media organization’s director for corporate development and strategy suggested in a tweet that it won’t remain the only one:
I'm overwhelemd by calls and inquiries. To you all, AL Jazzeera is leading the way to digital trnaformation. @ajplus is just the beginning
— Yaser Bishr (@YaserBi) January 13, 2016