With distribution in less than half the households that its cable news competitors enjoy, Al Jazeera America has a long way to go in the television ratings game. That fact was apparent during the new channel’s first week on the air, in which itsmajor programs appeared to hover in the 30-40,000 range, with only one show topping 50,000 viewers.
That honor went to former CNN host Ali Velshi, whose Thursday evening broadcast of Real Money with Ali Velshi drew the week’s best number with 54,000 total viewers. Other relative high points included the 2pm Saturday edition of News Live with 48,000 viewers and the Thursday 12:30pmInside Story with 41,000.
The debut of the channel’s prime time centerpiece America Tonight with host Joie Chen brought in just 34,000 viewers. And the 3pm launch hour Tuesday, which mainly served as an explanatory promo for the network, had only 22,000 viewers, below Nielsen’s minimum accuracy threshold.
Considering all of the channel’s obstacles, these numbers could certainly be worse, but they are of course dwarfed by the ratings from CNN, MSNBC and especially Fox News. Looking at Tuesday through Friday last week, in terms of prime time total viewers, Fox averaged 1.574 million viewers, MSNBC average 509,000 and CNN averaged 450,000.
Watch the first 5 minutes of Al Jazeera America’s launch below, in case you weren’t one of the 22,000 people watching it live: