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BSkyB axes Al Gore’s Current TV from its pay-TV lineup

Former US Vice-President Al Gore’s Current TV channel in the UK is facing closure after BSkyB – part owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation – axed it from its pay-TV lineup, reported the British newspaper Guardian.

BSkyB said it took a “commercial decision” to let go of the news and documentary channel from its subscription service, which launched in a blaze of publicity in 2007 but has since struggled for ratings.

The decision comes months after Current TV’s Italian network was dropped by Murdoch’s Sky Italia. Current TV is also available on Virgin Media and online, and would be able to continue on the Sky platform as a free-to-air channel – but low audience figures mean it is unlikely to generate much in advertising.

The bulk of the liberal TV station’s funding had come from its pay-TV deal with Sky – understood to be worth several million pounds a year – and the channel’s 23 staff were warned that its future is bleak.

Across all platforms, Current TV claims a monthly reach of 2 million viewers. Current TV originally launched in the US in 2005 and is now available in about 30m homes stateside.

It promised to “democratise” television by opening up the airwaves to first-time producers and viewers, with about a third of its content created by its audience.