The Al Jazeera America board has made the decision to phase out its struggling TV channel by April 30. According to Neilson Ratings, the network was only available in about 60 million American homes.
CEO Al Anstey wrote in an email that the “decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.”
Anstey said that the network will pursue a new global online strategy with content delivered from the United States later this year.
“In recent months at every level, and in every department, we have been making progress and demonstrated improvements and seen positive change,” Anstey wrote. “ Our Editorial excellence was demonstrated time and time again on the major stories of recent months. And we continue to win praise from our colleagues in the industry, and from our viewers for the quality of our output.”
The channel launched in early 2o13 and hit the airwaves in August 2013 after the purchase of Al Gore's Current TV. The channel, which was funded mostly by the government of Qatar, has been accused of promoting the Muslim Brotherhood.
In December 2015, the network released an investigative report that accused Peyton Manning and 10 other professional athletes took part in an underground doping ring. Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard, who were named in the report, filed a defamation lawsuit on January 2016, against AJAM. The main source for the story has since recanted his claims that Manning had taken Human Growth Hormone.
Employees were told that broadcast operations would begin to wind down and separation packages were being structured to give employees another 90 days of payroll and benefits.
The full text of the Anstey's email can be viewed here.