Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Al Jazeera’s surge in US/Canada

Vancouver Sun, via Al Jazeera.

"It's no longer anecdotal," Burman [Tom Burman, formerly CBC – now Al Jazeera English's head of strategy for the Americas] told Postmedia News. "There is, empirically, a real amazing demand indicated by Americans and Canadians in how AJE is covering the story."


The surging demand for Al Jazeera English's service, he said, is still seen mainly in the click counts on stories at AJE's website and in activity at its online portal for streaming of the network's televised news coverage.

"The web traffic to Al Jazeera English -- particularly to its live-streaming -- jumped 2,500 per cent in the 48-hour period at the beginning of the Egyptian crisis, and that's mainly from North America," said Burman. "There have just been millions and millions of page views."

At the same time, said Burman, U.S. cable and satellite providers are being deluged with about 4,000 requests a day from subscribers seeking access to Al Jazeera English's broadcast coverage of the unfolding drama in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and elsewhere overseas.

"The great difference with Canadians is that it's actually already available in their homes," said Burman.

"What we're trying to do with Canadians is just kind of telling them that -- and that it really requires them to tell their cable or satellite company that they want it."

Are US citizens finally ditching their pappy corporate news media for something a lot more in depth?


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