One week in, AJAM sees the positive in its dismal ratings
Al Jazeera America isn't worried about the low ratings it garnered during its first week on the air.
Though the Nielsen numbers are low (too low to accurately report, in some cases), the cable channel told TheWrap that the results are "consistent with Al Jazeera America’s growth-oriented strategy, including beginning our marketing campaign at launch" and all indications say the audience will build. In other words, there's nowhere to go but up.
"Al Jazeera America is pleased with the response it received from viewers during its launch week," the network told TheWrap. "The combination of those who watched our programming on air, those who visited our website and the huge positive buzz that was very evident on social media confirms that there is indeed a significant interest in and demand for the in-depth and unbiased reporting we are providing."
The channel added: "It was especially gratifying to see the very large number of people – particularly in New York — who used the channel-finder feature on our website. This is the best indication that, as we fully anticipated, demand for Al Jazeera America is strong and our audience will continue to grow steadily in the weeks and months ahead."
Also read: 5 Reasons Why Al Jazeera America Could Fail
AJAM said its highest-rated show was Thursday's episode of "Real Money with Ali Velshi," with 54,000 viewers. That is significantly lower than its cable news competitors, but the channel is only available in fewer than half of the homes of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — not to mention that it lost a few million more of those when AT&T dropped it from its U-verse system the night before the premiere.
That said, it's on par with Current's ratings — the channel that AJAM took over averaged 42,000 viewers on an average night in 2012, and it was available in about 60 million homes, according to the New Republic.
The nascent channel also focused on encouraging demographic information: "We are also extremely pleased with the demographic results from our first week," it said. "The median age of AJ America’s viewers is 55 years old." That's younger than CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and HLN.
AJAM also noted that its audience is both better-educated and wealthier than its competitors, with 40 percent having at least four years of college and a median income of $68,100. If it can keep those percentages as it increases its audience, it'll be in a good place.