Al Jazeera America announced on Wednesday that it will end its cable TV and digital operations on April 30.
The decision, made by AJAM's board, was "driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace," CEO Al Anstey wrote in an email to employees. Al Jazeera America is owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is funded by the Qatari royal family. AJAM runs fewer ads than its competitors while having a very small audience - it averaged only 7,000 primetime viewers in the 25-43 demographic in 2015.
The American arm of the Qatar-based media company launched in August 2013. Al Jazeera had previously struggled to penetrate the American market, and bought cable news network Current TV, much of whose staff was absorbed into Al Jazeera America. Despite producing quality news content, including a recent documentary about doping that prompted lawsuits from baseball stars Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman, the network didn't catch on in the crowded American cable news field, and was plagued by internal strife from the very beginning.
The Al Jazeera Media Network will reallocate resources to focus on expanding its global digital properties. The Media Network operates many news websites, including an English-language edition, and has had great success with AJ+, its online and mobile-only news channel that launched in 2014.