EGYPT: Al Jazeera official says Web traffic skyrocketed during protests
Tony Burman, Al Jazeera’s head of strategy for the Americas, said traffic to the satelite network's English-language website, where a live stream of its broadcast is available, increased 2,500% during the past week of Egypt coverage. He said up to 60% of the traffic was from the United States.
In a commentary in Saturday's Toronto Star, Burman noted that during that period, an estimated 7 million Americans have watched 50 million minutes of Al Jazeera coverage.
California-based Link TV, watched by more than 33 million American households via the DirecTV and Dish satellite systems, has been broadcasting up to 12 hours of Al Jazeera coverage daily, said Burman, former managing director of Al Jazeera English and a former editor-in-chief of CBC News.
Al Jazeera English is available in 220 million households in more than 100 countries, including Canada, but is still not broadcast in most of the U.S.
"Will all of this result in a breakthrough — nationwide — in the United States? Will broadcast historians in the future record this as "Al Jazeera’s Moment"? Will American cable and satellite providers, nervous about controversy, listen to its potential audience?" Burman wrote. "I certainly hope so."
— Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Photo: Carol Tadros, an exchange student from Egypt at the University of Wyoming campus where a live stream of Al Jazeera English played on the monitor. Tadros' family is safe, but she worries about the future of her country while she's away studying architectural engineering. Credit: Dan Cepeda/Associated Press