How hard is it to take over an existing slot in cable TV?
News channels financed by Britain, China and Russia are especially hungry for American cable deals. To date, the BBC has had the most success; its BBC World News channel is now available in about 25 million homes thanks to a deal struck last month with Time Warner Cable.But did BBC or those other channels ever try to purchase an existing channel's access? Would $500 million be the going rate? Did Al Jazeera negotiate only with Gore's channel or did they try to get a better deal from some other channel with pathetically low ratings?
But the takeover of Current brings Al Jazeera to the front of the line.
In recent weeks, Mr. Gore personally lobbied the distributors that carry Current on the importance of Al Jazeera, according to people briefed on the talks who were not authorized to speak publicly.So... Al Jazeera was buying the former Vice President's advocacy.
Distributors can sometimes wiggle out of their carriage deals when channels change hands.How long is that carriage deal? $500 million worth of long? And it's not even guaranteed? It could turn into nothing?!
Most [distributors] consented to the sale, but Time Warner Cable did not...So Time Warner — which serves 12 million of those 40 million homes — is already out. Did Al Jazeera get hoodwinked by the Oscar-and-Nobel-Prize-winning former Veep? He did what he could for them, "personally lobb[ying] the distributors that carry Current on the importance of Al Jazeera." How much more can you buy in this world? You got Al!
Time Warner Cable had previously warned that it might drop Current because of its low ratings. It took advantage of a change-in-ownership clause and said in a terse statement Wednesday night, “We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”
Hey, I just thought up a slogan Al Jazeera can use as it promotes itself to the American people: You Can Call Us Al.