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May iPad

Al Jazeera preps social news channel

MIPCOM: Al Jazeera is launching an online news channel for social media platforms, the broadcaster announced at Mipcom today.

The channel, called AJ+, will lean heavily on shortform video-led content. Rather than breaking news, it will seek to provide “clarity through context” for news breaking on existing social networks.

AJ+ should launch in English at the end of this year or early next, with an Arabic version in the middle of next year and other languages to follow, Moeed Ahmad, Al Jazeera’s new media manager told C21Media.

Ahmad said AJ+ is part of Al Jazeera’s mission to “give voice to voiceless and tell stories that matter – but in a form that the online consumers are used to.”

“Online video is the next frontier in that regard,” he said. “To respect the audience you have to give the audience the content in the way that they are used to consuming it. It’s our commitment to the audience to inform them, empower them and engage with them.

“Right now we don’t do any original video content for web. The way of writing and the formats for the shows are going to be very different from television. It’s going to be extremely visual, then presented and delivered through Facebook and YouTube on Apple TV.

“The idea behind this is that we’re going to push it into people’s social streams, so the content will live in the social streams of the people.”

Now running in pilot mode, AJ+ has a dedicated team of 45 working out of San Francisco studios, creating content for the web.

“We’re going to be relying on our global network of journalists to produce that content for us, independent of television,” explained Ahmad, “so it’s not going to have any of the repurposed, repackaged content. It’s going to be made for web, very sharable, very informative, visual and sometimes entertaining as well.”

Al Jazeera TV launched in the US this summer.

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