Reality shows have been & #BANNER1 & # a success formula for many general-entertainment channels. Now, even special-interest channels such as National Geographic Channel (NGC) are betting on this genre of programming.
As Debraj Tripathi, general manager, MAXUS, says, "Reality shows can work only when they gel with the profile of a channel."
And that's just what NGC is trying. The channel has rightly mixed reality with adventure to conform to its image.
The special-interest channel is all set to launch a new show in November, 'Nat Geo Mission Udaan', for which it has tied up with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Dilshad Master, senior vice-president, content and communication, NGC, says, "For a civilian, the IAF is all about glitz and glamour. But we want to break this myth. The show will take viewers inside the IAF, and make them realise the hard work that goes into the making of an IAF pilot."
'Nat Geo Mission Udaan' will select five civilians and give them a taste of what it is to be an IAF cadet, even putting them through the same training process as a cadet. The selection of the civilian candidates will start in October in the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
An obvious strategy behind the show is to broaden NGC's viewership base. As Zubin J Gandevia, managing director, NGC, says, "'Nat Geo Mission Udaan' arises out of our ongoing effort to broad-base the channel's appeal and produce programmes that are locally relevant and topical."
A Delhi-based media planner comments, "The show certainly has the right content to attract the masses, but its success will depend largely on the channel's promotional strategy."
The media planner offers a piece of advice: "The show needs to be promoted aggressively in smaller towns as well, not just in the metros.
"In smaller towns across India, there are large numbers of youths who aspire to join the armed forces. Such shows will certainly grab their attention, even if they are not regular viewers of NGC."
Meanwhile, continuing with its efforts to localise its programming, NGC is launching yet another local show, 'It Happens Only In India', in September. The 13-episode programme will showcase real-life unique events and incidents from India.
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