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Al Jazeera America (AJA) seems to lurch from one crisis to another and is making far too much news itself, with executive staff changes and internal conflict as well as a long-running dispute with former Vice President Al Gore.
Al Jazeera America’s latest problem is with pay-TV DTH broadcaster DirecTV. In a June 11th court filing now made public DirecTV is amending an existing claim against the news channel as a result of evidence revealed during the pre-trial ‘discovery’ phase between the litigants.
Previously DirecTV was claiming $28.5 million (€25.6m) from AJA for carrying the channel. Now that demand has jumped to $74.5 million, and with strong threats that DirecTV might drop the news channel on July 31st.
The claim is related to the Al Gore argument in that his Current TV, the sale of which enabled Al Jazeera to launch its ‘America’ channel instantly to tens of millions of American homes. Current TV had a deal with the cable MSO’s as well as the USA’s DTH operators which required the cable and satellite players to pay the same carriage terms to AJA as was being received by Current TV.
This revised lawsuit argues that the MSOs are paying AJA less per home than DirecTV, and DirecTV states that AJA therefore owes DirecTV the claimed $74.5 million.