In the survey of almost 2000 advertising executives, brand managers and academics by online magazine Brandchannel, Apple ousted search engine Google from last year's top spot, but the surprise to many will be Aljazeera's entry into the top five.

 

"With all the news from Iraq and Afghanistan and the 'war on terror', a lot of people are really tuned into the news, and the major news sources have a western bias," Brandchannel editor Robin Rusch said.

   

"I think people are tuning in to Aljazeera and looking at its website because it does offer another viewpoint. For the global community, it's one of the few points of access we have to news from the region with a different perspective."

 

Professional 

Most influential brands

 1. Apple 
 2. Google
 3. Ikea 
 4. Starbucks
 5. Aljazeera 

Rusch recognised the professional nature of the magazine's sample could affect the results of the survey, but felt, nonetheless, the Aljazeera brand now ranked in terms of impact alongside giants such as Nokia and Starbucks.

The annual survey asked respondents to rate the impact of a particular brand on people's lives. It did not attempt to quantify its financial value.

   

Coca-Cola, the US soft drinks behemoth that regularly tops polls of brand equity value, is nowhere to be found in this year's global or regional top five lists.

 

Privatisation

   

Meanwhile, Aljazeera is studying how to become a private company without subsidies from Qatar's government, a spokesman said in Doha on Sunday. 

 

"I don't think privatisation will have much of an impact on the station's editorial policy"

Rami Khuri, executive editor of Lebanon's Daily Star

Aljazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout said the station had been discussing privatisation for 15 months. 

 

"We've been subsidised by the Qatari government since 1996 and we believe that this is the next stage. The most important factor is that Aljazeera maintains its independence," Ballout said. 

 

Arab journalists said they did not believe a change in ownership structure would affect Aljazeera's news reports. 

 

"I don't think privatisation will have much of an impact on the station's editorial policy," said Rami Khouri, executive editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon.

 

"Their editorial formula seems to be a successful one and they have a large regional and global audience."