Al Jazeera America Pulling Paltry Viewer Totals

by Andrew Johnson

In its first six months, Al Jazeera America has managed to lose half the meager audience its predecessor Current TV drew every night. The latest Nielsen ratings show that the network, owned by the government of Qatar, averages only 15,000 total primetime viewers, which is effectively negligible. Just one third of that, around 5,000 viewers, is in the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic (known as “the demo”).

To put those figures in perspective, here are some comparisons:

1. Three nights’ viewers could fit in Khalifa International Stadium (capacity of 50,000), the official stadium of Qatar’s national soccer team and host of the 2022 World Cup.

2. More than four times as many travelers go through Doha International Airport everyday (64,000) than watch the channel each night.

3. The number of the network’s average nightly viewers is about the same as the number of students enrolled as Duke University (14,600), the alma mater of AJA’s 8 p.m. anchor John Seigenthaler, previously of NBC News.

4. AJA’s average total audience would almost double if just everyone in one square mile of New York tuned in (27,000 residents per square mile).

5. Meanwhile, all of the network’s viewers could squeeze into a New York Rangers hockey game at Madison Square Garden (18,006).

6. The 1959 Hollywood classic Ben-Hur had more extras (8,000) than AJA does viewers in the key demo. (Ironically, Qatar doesn’t seem to have qualms with slave labor . . .)

​7. More people voted for Larry SECEDE Kilgore in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Texas governor (19,012) than watch Al Jazeera America each night on average. Kilgore, a perennial candidate who changed his middle name to reflect his advocacy for Texas secession, finished last of the four candidates with less than 2 percent of the vote.

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