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JEREMY HOBSON: If you’ve been watching events unfold in Egypt, you may have seen coverage on the web stream from Al Jazeera. I say web stream because for most Americans. It’s impossible to get Al Jazeera English from your cable provider. Well after a surge in popularity, the network is hoping to change that.
Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.
JEFF TYLER: Al Jazeera English is only available in three cities: Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vt.; and Washington, D.C. Otherwise, you can catch a few hours on Link TV. That’s a public interest channel partly supported by viewer contributions, and carried on satellite TV networks.
Karen Stevenson is CEO of LinkTV. She says viewership is up and so are donations.
KAREN STEVENSON: Viewers who say, we really appreciate you providing us this unfiltered view, and they’re making spontaneous contributions. We’re not in the middle of a pledge drive now.
It was on Link TV that Henni Bouwmeester caught a few hours of Al Jazeera English.
HENNI BOUWMEESTER: I decided I want to see that channel always.
Her local cable provider doesn’t offer Al Jazeera English. She’d be willing to pay a premium to get it.
BOUWMEESTER: I prefer to pay for that than to pay for HBO.
In a statement, Al Jazeera says millions of Americans want to watch the channel, but are deprived of the opportunity. Tomorrow, the network launches a campaign to convince cable providers that there is a market for Al Jazeera English in the U.S.
I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.
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