Al Gore has sold his Current TV network to Al Jazeera. The pan-Arab news organization plans to shutter Current and replace it with another news network: “Al Jazeera America.”
Al Jazeera has had a difficult time gaining traction in the U.S. and the issue has always been a brand problem. The American market refuses to give Al Jazeera permission to be a viable news alternative. I say this without regard to the quality of its programming, depth of its coverage or due to its real or imagined political agenda.
The U.S. broadcast news industry does not demand unbiased coverage. In fact, it has room for every type of newscast except unbiased and fair. Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left are watched more for affirmation than for information.
Still, Al Jezeera, was not given permission to play here and its new brand, “Al Jezeera America,” won’t be accepted either.
A few months back, a representative from Al Jazeera contacted us at Stealing Share and asked for a proposal for a new branding exercise. We never heard back after our proposal was submitted.
If “Al Jazeera America” is a result of that initiative, the company either hired fools or decided on a do-it-yourself rebrand. Either way, watch the total failure of this enterprise.
Brand repair can never be done in-house because nobody on the inside can look dispassionately at itself to address the real problem. It’s a bit like looking at your own children dispassionately and admitting they’re unattractive.
New and expanded bureaus are not what bring success to news organizations. Success comes from understanding the target audience and delivering a new brand, free from baggage. A brand that proclaims loudly — “this is for you!”
Good luck Al Jezeera. Let me know when you are serious.