Officials from Comcast, which provides cable service to one-fifth of the homes in the United States, met today with representatives of Al Jazeera English (AJE) to discuss the possibility of adding the channel to the Comcast cable lineup. Currently, the 24-hour AJE is not available in most U.S. cable television markets. It is only offered in the United States through MHz Networks multicast channels on Comcast, Verizon Fios, and Cox to 2.4 million subscribers in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio, and Burlington, Vermont.
Al Jazeera came to the meeting with momentum: The channel’s strong reporting on the protests in Egypt and Tunisia has resulted in more than 10 million people, including 3.5 million Americans, viewing the live feed on the AJE website in recent weeks. To boost support, the network is running ads in major newspapers including the New York Times and New York Post encouraging readers to “call your local cable operator to request AJE.”
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who is Jewish, is a practical, no-nonsense chief executive who might see a business opportunity in adding Al Jazeera to his company’s lineup. Members of the Roberts family are philanthropic but are not considered major leaders of the Jewish community in Philadelphia.
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