Al Jazeera partners with Huawei

Qatar-based media company, Al Jazeera Media Network has signed an agreement with Huawei, a global leading ICT solutions provider to enhance its online presence across all media platforms. The partnership will see Huawei provide media cloud technology allowing both parties to explore and examine the best options and solutions to transform Al Jazeera’s online platform. The new media technology will also support video production and broadcast as well as focus on digitalising and archiving the network’s analog content online.

beIN reaches agreement with Warner Bros.

Qatar-based media network beIN Media Group, part of Al Jazeera, has signed an agreement with Warner Bros. The agreement which will go into effect in 2019, will see movies and TV series from the international television studio’s aired through beIN’s pay-TV platform across the Middle East and North Africa.

Al Jazeera to cut 500 jobs

Al Jazeera is set to cut around 500 jobs as part of a workforce optimisation initiative. The broadcaster has said that this would mostly affect those in positions at the company’s headquarters in Qatar and it is expected that the first job losses could occur in the next week. Al Jazeera broadcasting network was launched in 1996 and now has over 70 bureaus worldwide. The news comes just months after the announcement of the closure of Al Jazeera America’s cable TV and digital operations.

Al Jazeera moves satellite broadcast to Es’hailSat

Al Jazeera Media Network is to permanently terminate broadcasting via satellites Badr-4 and Badr-5 as of January 1, 2015. With new channel bundles broadcasting through satellite Es’hailsat 1, this move comes as part of the network’s efforts to provide its viewers in the MENA region with uninterrupted satellite TV broadcasting, as Al Jazeera channels have seen deliberate jamming in the wake of its coverage of the Arab uprisings. Included in the move are Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Mubhaser-Misr, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel and Al Jazeera America.

“Al Jazeera has carefully investigated and considered the intentional jamming of its signal in recent years,” says Ibrahim Nassar, Manager of RF & Teleport Engineering, Al Jazeera Media Network. “The jamming is part of an orchestrated and multifaceted campaign to block the network’s signal and internet websites from it viewers.”

Es’hailSat covers the same geographic area as Arabsat and provides viewers with secure and uninterrupted transmission with more powerful abilities to hold off signal interference attempts. Nassar added that the move to Es’hailSat does not require viewers to adjust their satellite dish location or the satellite receiver.

Nilesat viewers can still watch Al Jazeera channels in the GCC, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Yemen, Sudan and Djibouti via Nilesat (EAST) 11636 V, FEC: 3/4 and Symbol Rate 27500; in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, Al Jazeera channels are available via Nilesat (WEST) 10992 V, FEC: 3/4 and Symbol Rate 27500

Al Jazeera to build global media cloud

Al Jazeera Media Network has secured a deal with telecommunications provider Ooredoo to build a global media cloud which will connect its international bureaus. Signed at Al Jazeera’s Doha headquarters, the cloud will allow the network to connect with its main hubs in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and Africa, as well as linking with its 70 bureaus around the world. The media cloud will enable Al Jazeera to share videos, reports and breaking news with its editorial teams instantly, aiding preparation for broadcast on the network’s news channels.

“One of Al Jazeera Media Network’s objectives is to become a world class network operation,”  says Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairperson, Al Jazeera. “This global media cloud project and initiative will help the network achieve this goal by bringing the journalists and editorial workforce on a common communication platform. This partnership with Ooredoo will leverage the news capabilities of the channel and enhance user experience.”

Ooredoo Chairperson, Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani adds, “Al Jazeera is a globally-recognised brand, and Ooredoo is proud to be building infrastructure that will enable the company to take its coverage to the next level. In winning this competitive bid against some of the world’s largest technology companies, we are showing that Ooredoo is a world-class provider of cutting-edge business solutions.”

Al Jazeera launches AJ+

Al Jazeera has launched AJ+, a connected global news community. With socially shareable content, AJ+ will highlight human struggles and achievements, as well as providing context on the world’s most prevalent news stories.

AJ+ gives Al Jazeera the flexibility to innovate, grow and adjust in an era of rapid change in the news industry,” says Dr. Yaser Bishr, Director of Strategy and Development, Al Jazeera Media Network. “AJ+ is topical, direct and tonally relevant to a younger audience that relies heavily on mobile consumption and their social streams.”

AJ+ is available as a free iOS and Android app that conveys content, making the delivery and consumption of news fast, dynamic and simple. These cards are divided into the following sectors –

  • Video: This section offers bite-size videos containing relevant information that is shareable.
  • Debate: AJ+ enables you to vote on a certain issue, take a stand and advocate your position within the community.
  • Conversation: This space dives deeper into issues, connecting you with the global community to engage and learn from one another.
  • Quiz: Take a quiz and test your knowledge on issues, a novel way to explore stories.
  • Art: The section is designed to highlight key points around issues, and is designed to share on local streams.
  • Resource: Let AJ+ Google stories for you, this space will make your life a bit easier with links to relevant stories, articles and bits of information.

With over eight million views, AJ+ content will continue to be made available via its dedicated YouTube channel, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Es’hailSat to launch operations on Es’hail 1

Qatar-based satellite company Es’hailSat has announced commercial operations on its new satellite, Es’hail 1, will commence on December 30, 2013. The start of broadcast operations catering to the general public follows the commencement of Es’hail 1’s commercial service of the Al Jazeera Media Network channels in October.

Es’hailSat confirmed its sponsorship of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2014, which will coincide with live coverage on the Es’hail 1 satellite. The tournament, hosted by the Qatar Tennis Federation, will take place from December 30, 2013 through to January 4, 2014, and will be broadcast in high-definition across the Middle East and North Africa.

The satellite, launched in August from Kourou in French Guiana, will offer extended broadcast capacity of high-definition channels in the region. A second satellite, Es’hail 2, is due to launch in 2016.

Al Jazeera America signs Time Warner deal

Al Jazeera America has signed a distribution deal with Time Warner Cable offering access to millions of households in the New York and Los Angeles regions of the United States. Just days after launch in August 2013, the Qatar-owned broadcaster hit rocky ground after American-based telecoms group, AT&T, dropped the network from its U-verse television subscription service, taking its distribution down from 41 million homes to just 36 million homes.

Al Jazeera to sue AT&T

It’s only been a matter of days since Al Jazeera America launched, but it has already hit rocky ground. The Qatar-based television network plans to sue American-based telecoms group, AT&T, for dropping it from the U-verse television subscription service. The blow came just one day before Al Jazeera America went live on August 20, 2013, instantly  rocking its potential viewing figures by taking its distribution down from 41 million homes to just 36 million homes. This was the second such setback for Al Jazeera America, having bought the Current TV network from former United States Vice President, Al Gore, in January this year. Within hours of the deal being signed, Time Warner announced it would no longer be carrying the channel, immediately wiping nearly 20 million homes off the 60 million reach that Current TV initially had.

It’s not all bad news however, with a number of positive reviews – mixed with the predictable cynicism – some media heavyweights are predicting it may not be long until Al Jazeera America is picked up by more networks.