With No Viewers, Al Jazeera America Begins Firing Staff

The sports group was eliminated

Al Jazeera America, the Qatar dictatorship's pro-terrorist propaganda branch in the US, has a problem, it has more staff than viewers. So it's dumping some of the staff.

Cable channel Al Jazeera America, which launched less than a year ago, is slashing expenses and laying off staff as it struggles to gain a foothold in the US.

“They’re not making their numbers or the revenue they thought,” said a source. “They have a really convoluted background of people in from Qatar [headquarters]. They really don’t get the US market.”

Al Jazeera America is averaging just 15,000 total viewers, roughly half those who tuned in to its predecessor, Current TV, according to Nielsen figures.

The channel draws fewer than 6,000 viewers in the 25-to-54-year-old target audience for news.

Thanks to the deep pockets of the owners, Al Jazeera America spent freely in a bid to challenge its all-news TV competition.

It hired 800 journalists, including former ABC news-gathering chief Kate O’Brian, and blanketed the US with a dozen bureaus.

Qatar can always try getting its money back from Al Gore. That and cutting its sports coverage. (Yes, apparently there was sports coverage. Taliban soccer played with human heads perhaps.)

The cuts were across the entire network. Among the areas hardest hit were the new network's sports department and the staff of the television show "The Stream," a program about social media that is being cut from five days a week to one day.

The sports group was pretty much eliminated as Al Jazeera America executives realized few viewers were coming to the network for scores and highlights.

The message for a while has been that ratings don't matter to Al Jazeera and while the oil tyranny does have deep pockets, it apparently doesn't intend to indefinitely pour money down a hole.

The C.E.O. of Al Jazeera America, Ehab Al-Shihabi, reassured staff that the company was invested in the long-term for the channel, and argued that the U.S. was moving towards "a golden age of global news."

In a memo sent to staff of the channel this week, obtained by Capital, Al-Shihabi compared the launch of AJAM to "build[ing] an airplane in mid-flight" and thanked the staff. He also emphasized that the company was focused on the long-game.

"I want you to know that this organization is on very firm financial footing. The support is there. The investment is for the long-term. All of which means you should be thinking for the long-term," Al-Shihabi wrote.

That was back in March. In April it's a different story.

In January, Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian assured staffers that the network was on it way to being the “envy of the industry.

Sure. Get paid without having to get viewers. The rest of the industry is envious.