Al Jazeera goes live: 22% Americans will be watching

August 30, 2013, 8:22 AM UTC

Al Jazeera America has gone live, broadcasting 24 hour rolling news to 48 million homes in the US – and 22% of Americans say they will watch the channel in the next year.

Headquartered in New York, the channel has 12 bureaus in major cities around the country, three broadcast centres, and a team of nearly 900 journalists and staff. Al Jazeera English ­­– meaning ‘The Island’ or ‘The Peninsula’ in Arabic – is currently based in Doha, Qatar.

The channel launch has attracted plenty of attention from news outlets across the US – some of which will become Al Jazeera’s direct competition. The newcomer on the block has already attracted more than one in five (22%) Americans who say they will watch Al Jazeera at some point in the next year. 45% said they would be watching Fox News, 43% CNN and 42% ESPN. While just one in ten Americans plan to watch Bloomberg in the next 12 months, 14% said they would not watch any of the selected news channels.

The news channel leaders – Fox News and CNN – already have a good viewing base, as 54% of the nation said they had watched one or the other channel in the past year. 10% of the population said they plan on watching Bloomberg in the next year, while 13% said they had watched the channel in the previous 12 months.

More people plan to watch the new network in the next year than the viewers Current TV attracted in the previous year. 17% of Americans said they watched Current TV – the network founded by Al Gore in 2005 and sold to Al Jazeera in January – in the past 12 months, suggesting that Al Jazeera may gain more viewers than the network it is taking over.

Al Jazeera is the least familiar channel to viewers out of our selected channels. Despite this, almost everyone who is aware of the channel say they will view it – 25% of the nation said they were familiar, while 22% say they plan to watch it. For Fox News, which 79% of Americans said they are familiar with, only 45% of the nation stated they will be watching.  This trend follows all other news channels, where only a small proportion of those who are familiar with a network actually plan to watch it.

Americans living in the West of America may be most likely to view the channel, with 29% of people living in this area saying that they plan to watch Al Jazeera America.

Al Jazeera is currently viewed as the least favorable network out of YouGov’s selected channels. While 48% of the population said they had a favorable opinion of sports network ESPN, just 12% of Americans view Al Jazeera in a favorable light.

The channel started out fifteen years ago as the first independent news outlet in the Arab world dedicated to uncovering stories in the region. Now it covers current affairs across the globe.

Its English language network broadcasts to more than 250 million households across 130 countries, while it also broadcasts Al Jazeera Arabic, Balkans, Sport, Mubasher, Documentary, the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center and Center for Studies.

34% of the nation does not favor Al Jazeera – slightly more than Fox News, a channel that 32% of the population sees as unfavorable. Fox News was among the most divisive channel, as 46% favored and 32% did not favor the channel – along with CNN, which 40% of the nation favors, but 26% said they saw as unfavorable.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus research services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com.

Click here for full results.

Image: Getty