Mediabistro has the Nielsen numbers for the first few days of Al-Jazeera America, and they are, shall we say, not promising:
Not surprisingly given the low-rated channel it replaced (Current TV), and the fact that it lost a few million homes from AT&T before launch (it is currently in just over 40 million homes), AJAM’s launch ratings were pretty low by traditional cable news standards.
The highest rated show on AJAM last week was the Thursday evening edition of “Real Money with Ali Velshi,” which drew 54,000 total viewers.
The 2 PM Saturday edition of “News Live” averaged 48,000 viewers, while “Inside Story” Thursday at 12:30 PM averaged 41,000 viewers. “News Live” Thursday from 12-12:30 averaged 40,000. The debut edition of “The Stream” on Tuesday averaged 38,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s accuracy threshold, while the debut of “America Tonight” averaged 34,000 viewers.
Of course, it’s an uphill battle with any new cable channel, although you have to figure they’re not happy with drawing one-eighth the audience of a random My Little Pony rerun.
AJAM bought the inside front cover and Page 1 of The Week this past week to try to drum up some business, brandishing this slogan: KNOW MORE ANGLES / NO MORE SIDES. Wouldn’t work in an audio ad, I suppose, but that’s not a bad little shibboleth. And they’re still listing a channel number on AT&T U-verse (189), though a ZIP search for AJAM around here produced the usual “Request from your provider” link for AT&T. A scan of the local Cox channels produced nothing; then again, they didn’t carry
Al-Gore Current TV either.