AT&T's U-verse TV service will not carry Al Jazeera America
Aug 20 (Reuters) - AT&T's U-verse pay-TV service said on Tuesday it would not carry Al Jazeera America as the cable news network funded by the emir of Qatar launched in the United States.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said the decision was due to a contract dispute. U-verse had 5 million video customers at the end of June.
"We could not reach an agreement with the owner that we believed provided value for our customers and our business," Siegel said.
U-verse had previously had a deal in place to carry Current TV, the network Al Jazeera acquired in January.
Al Jazeera America launched its service on Tuesday afternoon. A spokesperson for the network could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last Friday, an Al Jazeera network spokeswoman said the channel would be available in "over 40 million homes."
U-verse is the second TV provider to drop the channel since the acquisition. Time Warner Cable, which has 12 million customers, dropped the channel in January and has not said whether it intends to carry it again.
Comcast, DirecTV, Dish and Verizon are so far carrying the network.
Globally, Al Jazeera is seen in more than 260 million homes in 130 countries. But the English version of the network has so far struggled to find distributors in the United States, in part because it was perceived as being anti-American, particularly at the height of the U.S. War in Iraq.
Al Jazeera America tried to secure U.S. Pay TV distribution when it acquired former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's Current TV in January in a deal analysts estimated cost $500 million.
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