The Washington Post

Al Gore, Al-Jazeera and another Inconvenient Truth

Former Vice President Al Gore, Current TV Chairman and Co-Founder, participates in the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena , Calif. Al-Jazeera, the Pan-Arab news channel that has struggled to win space on American cable television, has acquired Current TV, Gore confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/AP)

What’s interesting are the actual terms of the Al-Jazeera-Current deal: Al-Jazeera plans to overhaul Current TV and change the name to potentially Al-Jazeera America. The $500 million price tag is not for Current TV’s content — it’s for the access to a broader American audience. It is, as Henry Blodget of Business Insider suggests , similar to buying an “airline for its airport landing rights rather than its brand or customers or current business.”

Director-of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassem al-Thani, speaks during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the launching of the Qatar-based Arabic satellite news channel in Doha, on November 1, 2011. (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

This is not to say that U.S. news organizations have completely dropped the ball when it comes to online video innovation and their embrace of the Internet. One example that stands out is Cory Booker’s #waywire. The platform is a Current TV-like offering for the younger generation. It mixes in crowdsourced news accounts with social media to give a youth-inflected take on the news. At the same time, Reuters TV has earned kudos for the build-out of its YouTube news channel and it’s packaging of bite-size news content. (And, by the way, The Washington Post, too, just announced a new online video initiative for political programming)

A microphone with the logo of Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera before the French Cup football match Paris vs. Lyon on March 21, 2012 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Read more news and ideas on Innovations:

Innovation and the deal

A home in the trees

The ripe fruits of DIY

Dominic Basulto is a futurist and blogger based in New York City.


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