/// Why Did the Web Miss Out on Al Jazeera?
Congratulations, cable guys! You’re in a business that’s so valuable that even a failed network with partial distribution and no audience is worth some $500 million . Meanwhile, a question for the Web video guys: Are you bummed out about Al Jazeera’s Current TV deal? Maybe you should be. Because this is a deal you could have had for yourself. The Internet isn’t going to get its hands on TV’s most valuable properties, like big-time sports, anytime soon. But Al Jazeera would have been a perfect candidate to bypass cable and go digital-only. Consider: You’ve already got the infrastructure: A few years ago, the Web’s capacity to handle lots of streaming video was an open question. But now we’ve seen — courtesy of the Olympics and Felix Baumgartner’s space jump – that this isn’t a problem, at least not for a cable-sized crowd. You’ve already got the eyeballs. No need to reiterate the size of YouTube’s audience (but it’s around 800 million people worldwide , in case you’ve forgotten). The more important part is that Al Jazeera’s prospective U.S. audience — news junkies, Muslim Americans, Muslims living in America, etc — are quite certainly already getting most of their information from the Web. They do that now because they have no choice, but my hunch is that even when Al Jazeera shows up on cable, they’ll keep consuming most of their news on the Web. Because that’s where they like to consume it. You’ve got the flexibility: Right now anyone in America can stream Al Jazeera whenever they want , for free, without paying for cable.
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Why Did the Web Miss Out on Al Jazeera?