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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Al Jazeera English YouTube Channel

Entered in YouTube Presence

About this entry

At the start of 2020, as Covid-19 began its rapid-fire spread across the globe, the Al Jazeera English Youtube Channel was doing what it does best - publishing and curating video news reports and documentaries from Al Jazeera English's TV networks and Digital divisions. But the pandemic also ran in tandem with an unprecedented news cycle that kept our small team working round the clock to bring the latest COVID-19 news to AJE English's nearly 7 million YouTube subscribers. And, as always, we kept true to Al Jazeera's ethos of highlighting the human stories that have long been the trademark of our award-winning journalism. 

During the ramp-up to the US presidential elections through to January 6, and beyond, our Youtube team covered every major global news development - from the tense national polls that saw President Joe Biden's defeat of Donald Trump to global climate change and wildfires, Brexit and the Black Lives Matters protests. By year's end, 18.3% of our viewers were visiting from the US, which has long been our most important audience base.

Our objective for the channel is simple: to be a trusted source of fair and balanced global news reportage and human-centered storytelling. We accomplish this through exclusive interviews, live coverage, and Analysis from the fields, playlists and carousels, live comment sections and careful analysis of the numbers that, as always, gave us new ideas on how to innovate and continue engaging our audiences. 

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The relentless events and developments of 2020 were an unwelcomed game changer that affected people’s mortality, livelihoods and prospects. Through it all, our YouTube team worked tirelessly to publish every COVID-19 update from the field and out of Al Jazeera English's TV and Digital newsrooms. We did this while following other major stories, too, which strained our workloads and presented a challenge to our strategy of informing and engaging audiences, no matter their geography.

If our audience were a person, it most likely would be a man between the age of 25 to 34 living in the United States, or India, and accessing our content via a smart phone. Aware of the gender gap, we worked hard to engage our female audience base in 2020, growing it from 16.8% to 18%.

Paying close attention to the analytics - what the numbers can tell us about our viewers - is also an important part of our strategy. The analytics inform us how to make the best use of every feature on YouTube, pointing us to the features and offerings that are most likely to attract viewers to our award winning journalism. As a result, we've grown our livestreaming, broadcasts of live news, sports, shows, and documentaries hailing from the AJE TV channel. And the option of giving people the option to engage through live chats has lent participation to our platform.

Our channel videos are divided into playlists, and an auto-updated playlist with the latest breaking news videos (213,738 views and counting), a playlist with the latest news and current affairs video packages, a multi-playlists section of six digital native series - Start Here, Al Jazeera Close Up, Fork the System, All Hail the Algorithm, Media Theorised, and NewsFeed - a playlist with the channel’s most-watched videos of all time ranked in order of popularity, a multi-playlists section featuring long-form documentaries reflecting a range of people, places, and perspectives and that challenge dominant views through strong human stories.

We use The community tab Feature to better connect to our audience by posting content of the following categories:

·        News: Trending or breaking news with a link to the website article
·        Memories: A throwback post related to an ongoing event
·        Shows/Documentaries: An image & link to the recently posted show to drive traffic
·        Infographics: Visual storytelling to explain complex issues
·        Events: International days observed by the United Nations linking to relevant documentary

We always try our best to publish the global, trending stories of the day. We work to optimize the stories we publish and to brainstorm creative ideas for publishing the news. At the Al Jazeera Enlish YouTube channel, we really care about the number of hours people spend watching our videos - this, as much as anything, shows us where how to place the stories we publish, and tells us much about our audience's needs. We always work hard to cover global events with speed, authenticity and accountability.


Our watch time, subscribers and viewers all shot upward in 2020.

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of subscribers grew slowly, from 0.09 million to 1.10 million. Today, that figure stands at 6.94 million.

The countries with the most viewers to our English content are the US (18.3%), India (12.9%), and the UK (6.2%). Compared with the last year, we can see that the number of viewers in India has increased the most, from 11% to 12.9%.

Between 2019 and 2020, the percentage of watch time grew from 50.8 million to 75.9 million. And the number of views increased from 447.4 million to 600.6 million - and for loyal subscribers, the number of views grew from 1.6 million to 2.1 million. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Al Jazeera English Online, AJ Digital


Entry Credits