In a major new push, Al Jazeera English to focus carriage efforts on the next stage of global distribution.

Doha, Qatar, 27 September 2007: Having achieved a global viewer footprint of 100 million homes just one year after its launch, Al Jazeera English has set its sights on obtaining broad distribution in the highly competitive United States market, as well as deeper penetration in India and other key markets worldwide. The channel today announced the appointment of distribution veteran Phil Lawrie to spearhead the effort as Director of Global Distribution.

Prior to joining Al Jazeera Phil held several senior business development positions at Turner Broadcasting System, a Time Warner company, which owns some of the world’s most well-known news and entertainment TV channels including CNN, Cartoon Network, TCM and Boomerang. Most recently, he was Vice President, Commercial Distribution & Digital Media Sales based at TBS’s European headquarters in London with full P&L responsibility for a department generating $10m+ in direct sales and millions of dollars’ worth of marketing exposure to the benefit of advertising sales and brand growth.

Al Jazeera English is carried by major cable and satellite operators across the globe. The channel continues to meet the growing demand from audiences worldwide with recent deals across all conventional platforms. The channel is also exploiting and expanding in all areas of new media, reaching millions of viewers  through IPTV and mobile technologies. Al Jazeera English’s dedicated channel on YouTube has been a huge success, being extremely popular with both US and international online viewers.

"In just one year, Al Jazeera English has exceeded our wildest expectations in terms of its global carriage," said Abdullah Al Najjar, Commercial Director of Al Jazeera Network. "The US, as well as India and China, represent the next stage in our global distribution efforts. These are sophisticated markets that have a need and desire for international news, and I am delighted that someone as experienced, creative and passionate as Phil is leading the charge."

Launched over ten years ago as a satellite news service for the Arab world, The Al Jazeera Network has grown to encompass a dynamic portfolio of channels including the Arabic and the English language news channels, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, Al Jazeera Mubashar and four Sports channels.

"The Al Jazeera brand is an international phenomenon whose reputation for courageous reporting precedes it, and for almost a year Al Jazeera English has been setting the news agenda by reporting from under-represented corners of the world," said Lawrie.

"We’ve waited in the queue to be seen in the US patiently.  The fact that Al Jazeera English’s website receives four to five million page views per week with up to 60% of the hits coming from the United States tells us there is a great demand for international news by the US audience.  And other markets such as India and Hong Kong, which have large English-speaking populations, are keen to see local news through their own eyes, not through those of someone sitting in Atlanta or London. That’s what Al Jazeera promises and delivers." 

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 About the Al Jazeera Network

Al Jazeera started out ten years ago as the first channel in the world dedicated to providing comprehensive, independent television news and live debate for the Arab world. The Channel now has an estimated peak audience of over 50 million viewers and has been ranked by brandchannel.com as the most recognizable and influential news brand globally.  As a natural extension of its spirit and mission, Al Jazeera has over the years created a number of other channels and services - in March 2006 Al Jazeera was formally named the Al Jazeera Network, transforming its operation into an international media corporation.

The Al Jazeera Network now consists of: the flagship Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera.net (the English and Arabic web sites), the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al Jazeera Mobile.


About Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English language news and current affairs channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Broadcasting from within the Middle East, looking outwards, Al Jazeera English sets the news agenda and acts as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC, Al Jazeera English balances the information flow from South to North, providing accurate, impartial and objective news for a global audience from a grass roots level, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.

Al Jazeera English is building on the ground-breaking heritage of its sister Arab-language channel – Al Jazeera, which was responsible for changing the face of news within the Middle East, now extending that fresh perspective from regional to global.

Visit  www.aljazeera.net/english for more details.

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