Al Jazeera English Gets Social, as the BBC Considers Retooling Its News Channel

By Alex Weprin 

Al Jazeera English is still struggling to gain distribution in the U.S., but that isn’t stopping the channel from experimenting with some new programming to try and become more relevant. The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone attended the premiere party for AJE’s new program “The Stream,” which attempts to combine traditional TV and social media.

While AJE’s still pitching cable providers like Time Warner and Comcast, the network’s simultaneously ramping up its online and social media presence to help promote its international news brand to an audience of digital natives–some who may be too young to remember when Al Jazeera was the media bogeyman of the Bush years.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said, seated amid a roomful of partygoers drinking, mingling and grabbing Al Jazeera t-shirts and hats. “And when they see that it’s intelligent, it’s informed, it’s global, it’s connected, that starts to be exciting to people.”

Elsewhere, The Guardian reports that the BBC is considering retooling its U.K. cable news channel to save money:

BBC executives are looking at options including reducing the BBC News channel’s £46m-a-year budget by “offering a slimmed-down channel focusing on developing news and headlines”, while also focusing on improving its reputation for “delivering breaking news”.

Other proposals being discussed including making the BBC Parliament channel “more cost effective and accessible” and making more money from selling BBC News output to overseas broadcasters “without damaging our brand and reputation”.