Al Jazeera launching English kids channel
March 9, 2011
By Chris Forrester
Al Jazeera, flush with the success of its English-language news service, is to launch an English spin-off of its popular Jazeera Children’s Channel. The new channel is scheduled to launch by the end of 2012. Content will be a mix of syndicated shows from other sources and original programming, dubbed into English, from the already existing Arabic-language Al Jazeera Children’s Channel.
It has been reported that Al Jazeera is holding ongoing talks with Comcast and Time Warner in the US. According to an interview in Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper with Al Jazeera Children’s general manager Mahmoud Bouneb, American airtime is in the cards: “We have an ambition to create an international feed for JCC that will benefit other markets, [such as] Asia and North America […] We are thinking probably by the end of 2012 because it takes a long time to prepare and to penetrate the market … we have so many requests from Asian countries to bring Al Jazeera [Children’s Channel] in Arabic and to be dubbed in English […] It is essential our international feed will cover North America. I don’t think we will face the issues related to the distribution of Al Jazeera (English News).”
The already-existing Arabic-language Al Jazeera Children’s Channel has been on the air since 2005. Al Jazeera Children’s programming is aimed at seven- to 15-year-olds, while sister network Baraem TV airs programming directed at pre-schoolers. Al Jazeera Children’s takes a distinctively high-minded approach to children’s programming; nearly all programs share the same “edutainment” values found at the BBC.
Al Jazeera Children’s is currently a free television channel viewable in the Middle East and Europe on the Badr 3, Nilesat, and Eutelsat Hotbird satellites.