Time Warner Cable Agrees to Carry Al Jazeera America

Declines to Say Whether Network Is Getting Payment

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Al Jazeera America will become available to Time Warner Cable subscribers in the next few months, the companies said Thursday.

The Al Jazeera America studios
The Al Jazeera America studios

The new carriage will expand distribution of the Qatar-owned network, which bowed in August, to nearly 55 million homes, up from about 44 million.

Al Jazeera came to the United States by taking over Current TV, a cable network that already had distribution on pay-TV companies including Time Warner Cable, but Time Warner Cable took the changeover as an opportunity to drop the channel. The company has been trying to slow the growth in programming fees, particularly for channels with small audiences.

Some small cable networks, however, are accepting carriage deals without demanding compensation from pay-TV companies. Time Warner Cable declined to say whether it will pay Al Jazeera America subscriber fees under the new deal.

Al Jazeera America will be available on the digital basic tier in Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks markets, including New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas over the next six months, the companies said in a joint statement.

"We said in January that we would consider Al Jazeera America," said Melinda Witmer, exec VP-chief video and content officer, Time Warner Cable, in the statement. "Now that the channel is live, we think that it would be of value to our customers and are pleased to make it available."

Thus far, Al Jazeera America's viewership has been lackluster, with just 18,000 total viewers on average tuning in during prime time.

Time Warner Cable recently agreed to restore another small channel it had dropped, Ovation, citing improved programming.

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