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Al Jazeera prepares to move into new Shard Hub

Al Jazeera is preparing to open its new European news hub on the 16th floor of London's Shard next week.

According to The Independent, the new 28,000 square feet hub will house nearly 200 staff, with the 16th floor chosen as having the best skyline views over the UK capital - a higher floor would have reportedly "ruined the perspective". Both Al Jazeera and The Shard are under Qatari ownership.

Launch date is set for next Tuesday. London is already home to a number of Al Jazeera news programmes, with the existing hub hosting segments of Al Jazeera's Newshour and evening (UK time) news bulletins. During the past year, Al Jazeera has expanded its terrestrial TV reach in the UK with the launch of an HD version of its English service, plus its Arabic service on Freeview.

There had been earlier reports that Al Jazeera would launch a UK version of its news channel, in a similar vein to RT's recent expansion in the UK, but there's been no further news about an Al Jazeera UK service recently.

  • Kremlin-backed RT, formerly known as Russia Today, meanwhile went live with its enhanced UK opt-out on Thursday, with separate UK-specific news programming scheduled between 6pm and 11pm alongside regular programmes from RT International. The launch didn't go completely without a hitch, and just before 7pm, the channel played out a trailer for its RT UK service, claiming the launch was still "coming soon". RT first began broadcasting a UK opt out of its main international service in 2012, when it began to show adverts targeted at UK viewers. It subsequently broadened its opt-outs with the introduction of UK-specific programming. For the remainder of its broadcast hours, the channel continues to simulcast the main international version of RT.


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