Soon you’ll have just one, because Al Jazeera’s stream is going away. That’s because the company will turn its stream off when it fires up its new cable channel, Al Jazeera America, on August 20.
Which means this will go away from the Al Jazeera website…
… and you’ll get no more live video like this:
Or so I gather.
Everything I just wrote is a provisional understanding: the best I can do so far. Some or all of it might be wrong.
Here’s what I do know for sure.
First, Al Jazeera bought Current TV from Al Gore and is re-branding it Al Jazeera America. In Al Jazeera America: A Unicorn Is Born, Joe Pompeo of New York Magazine calls this move “arguably the biggest American TV-news launch since Fox News and MSNBC more than a decade ago.”
Second, if you go to http://america.aljazeera.com/get-aljazeera-america, you’ll see this:
In case you can’t make out the small print, it says “When Al Jazeera America launches on August 20th, Al Jazeera English will no longer be available on TV or as an online stream in the U.S.” That means gone completely, right?
Maybe not. Al Jazeera English isn’t all of Al Jazeera. If you click on the “Watch Live” button here…
… you’ll get a page with the URL http://www.aljazeera.com/watch_now/, where there is this set of choices:
Click on “Al Jazeera Mobile Services” and it lists apps for a variety of mobile devices. All talk up “free access to the live stream” (or equivalent copy) as a main feature. Are they just late to removing or qualifying that copy? Or will the live stream be gone only from the website?
Click on “How to watch Al Jazeera English online” and you get this copy:
How to watch Al Jazeera English online
View our network through the internet via websites, online TV providers and mobile apps.Last Modified: 12 Jul 2013 14:50
Watching Al Jazeera English via the internet is now easier than ever. The network is broadcast around the world to over 220 million households, but don’t worry if you can’t find us on your television.A range of websites, online TV providers, and mobile apps now offer a live stream of our channel. Browse the list below to discover the best way for you to watch and click the links on the left for specifics.
Websites Al Jazeera English Watch the broadcast on our website. Livestation Our UK-based partner streams AJE live. YouTube See our live stream, programmes and news clips. On the social networking site, stay tuned with AJE. Dailymotion Watch programmes and news clips on AJE’s channel. Connected TV Samsung Smart TV Watch the live stream and video-on-demand from the app. LG Smart TV Watch the live stream and video-on-demand from the app. Roku In the channel store, access the Newscaster. Google TV See the AJE feed through the Google play app. Boxee Watch AJE on your box through the Livestation app. PlayStation 3 Open up the Livestation AJE feed through your console’s browser. Mobile iPhone/iPad/iPod View live news from AJE on Apple devices through the iTunes app. Blackberry Open your internet browswer and watch Al Jazeera live. Android Use our new app to watch AJE on your smart phone. Symbian/Windows Live stream Al Jazeera English on your mobile through Mobiclip.
Due to copyright and distribution restrictions, not all viewers will be able to access all of our streaming video services.
Are they killing off all of that stuff in the U.S. or just some of it? What exactly are those copyright and distribution restrictions, and how are they involved in this new move? They surely aren’t killing off the live Net streams for no reason, so obviously they were forced to make trade-offs. What were they?
Hey, they’re a news organization. What they’re doing by going all-cable with no-Net, is sacrificing the future for the past, seems to me. At the very least they should be transparent about what they’re doing and why .
(I have no idea why WordPress puts a strike through the @ sign. I just copied the list out of Twitter and pasted it into the composing window here.)
I also went to Al Jazeera’s Facebook page and politely asked what was going on. I’d quote what I wrote, but it’s gone. I don’t know why. Maybe they erased it somehow. Or maybe, not being as adept at Facebook as I should be, I just can’t find it.
Whatever the story, Al Jazeera isn’t covering it — and, I am guessing, they don’t want it covered.
But it is a story. The world’s most ambitious news organization is making a big move on the U.S. news marketplace by subtracting value from what it’s already doing — and none of its competition are doing.
There is no bathwater in the live news streams Al Jazeera is tossing on the 20th. It’s all babies. Here are four of them:
- Leading edge early adopters. Cord-cutters. That’s the audience Al Jazeera already has online.
- Advocates. Friends. I was one. See here.
- Companions. Meaning everything else on the Net that isn’t on cable, such as YouTube.
- A platform for networked journalism. Cable ain’t it. The Internet is.
Cable is still big, but it’s the past. The Net is the future. Hey, just ask James Dolan, the CEO of Cablevision. In The Future of TV Might Not Include TV, the Wall Street Journal begins,
Predicting that transmission of TV will move to the Internet eventually,Cablevision Systems Corp. Chief Executive James Dolan says “there could come a day” when his company stops offering television service, making broadband its primary offering.
But I guess Al Jazeera is a cable channel at heart. And less of a news organization than it aspires to be — or they’d come a lot cleaner about what they’re doing here. And why they’re stiffing their entire online audience in the U.S.
Well, at least we still have France24.
[19 Aug, 11:23pm Pacific time…] The deed is done:
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