The Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera is on the lookout for a new office in New York and may consider moving into the former headquarters of the New York Times newspaper.
After the acquisition of Al Gore’s Current TV for USD 500 million in January, the channel is all set to expand its operations in the US. Under the deal, Current TV will be rebranded as Al Jazeera America. According to Wall Street Journal, the Qatar government-owned Al Jazeera had hired real estate services provider CBRE to help find a new office space in New York.
Currently, Al Jazeera is operating with a staff of about 150 people from a temporary rented studio space in Manhattan. The world-famous NY Times building, located at 229 W. 43rd St., is one of the properties being considered by Al Jazeera. The building is ideal because of its location and is already setup for digital media distribution. However, final decision on the matter may be influenced by architectural constraints of the building.
The former US vice president Gore has come under heavy criticism at home for selling Current TV. Media consultant John Terenzio had even filed legal action against Gore, claiming that he had come up with the idea of selling Current TV to Al Jazeera but he had not been notified nor compensated by the transaction. Defending his decision at a panel debate in Texas, Gore claimed that the sale would “raise the game for television journalism” in the US.
About 100 million homes in the US enjoy cable or satellite service in the US. Current TV, distributed by Comcast Corp and DirecTV, is broadcast in around 60 million of these homes. Although Al Jazeera is wholly-owned by the Qatari government, the Qatari broadcaster maintains that it holds editorial independence.