Al Jazeera America to get prime new channel space

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Alex Weprin

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As it prepares to launch a new marketing campaign, Al Jazeera America will be getting some prime new channel placement for Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York.

Tomorrow, January 28, AJAM will be moving from channel 181—the hinterland of the cable channel lineup—to channel 57, still within cable’s channel-surfing sweet spot.

Currently, AJAM is placed in the lineup where viewers have to aggressively seek it out. Capital spent close to five minutes trying to locate it last week by clicking through channels, and found it next to Univision Deportes and a channel called “Shop Zeal.”

In its new channel placement, it will be right next to CNN sister network HLN, which could drive tune in from people seeking out that channel. In fact, the new placement gives it a lower channel number than some major players, like Discovery Channel, Lifetime and, yes, CNN.

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CNN is currently located at channel 78, while MSNBC is at 14, CNBC at 15, Fox Business at 43 and Fox News at 44. AJAM is replacing a Manhattan local cable access channel, which will move elsewhere.

AJAM’s channel placement in other cities will not be affected for now, but seeing as New York City is the largest TV market in the country, and a focal point of AJAM’s carriage push, it is a significant move.

The channel is also preparing a new marketing campaign, which will roll out sometime during this quarter. AJAM only launched on Time Warner Cable in New York, Los Angeles and other cities last month, so the campaign will, in part, drive awareness of the fact that it is now available.

AJAM made news late last week, as it touted the fact that it didn’t bother to cover pop star Justin Bieber’s arrest in a meaningful way. AJAM has been positioning itself as a new cable channel dedicated to hard news coverage, and the Bieber decision plays into that brand positioning.

Now that it has a channel number in a place people regularly click through, it is hoping more people will discover that difference.