Al-Jazeera Faces Tough Battle Getting into American Homes

Al-Jazeera International, a new English-language channel delivering news from an Arab perspective, is having trouble finding American cable companies willing to place it in their lineups.

Reports the British Guardian:

Nigel Parsons, the head of al-Jazeera International, said it was proving difficult to persuade US cable companies to give the channel space on their platforms.

"Without doubt there are one or two countries where it's more difficult. The US is not the easiest and nor is Australia," Mr Parsons told an audience of broadcasting executives at the News Xchange conference in Amsterdam.

"In other places we are knocking on open doors and I think we will get good carriage. Plus you've always got broadband so we will be visible [in the US]."

Al-Jazeera provides 24-hour news coverage of world events from a Middle-Eastern perspective, and first came to international attention when Osama bin Laden used the network to broadcast his messages to the world.

Former Marine Josh Rushing, who served as a Pentagon spokesman during the early days of the Iraq war, will be a correspondent for Al-Jazeera at its new Washington bureau.

The network will have to convince cable companies that having two channels from the Arab perspective is better than one: Al-Jazeera and CNN.