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NGC expands footprint in India with four new channels

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 22, 2008
The new Nat Geo channels are Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Music and Nat Geo HD

NGC & #BANNER1 & # Network, the promoter of the National Geographic Channel, is all set to launch four specialist Nat Geo channels in India.

The new Nat Geo channels are Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Music and Nat Geo HD (high definition). NGC Network came to India in 1997, with the launch of its flagship brand, the National Geographic Channel (NGC).

Sydney Suissa, vice-president, content, NGC International, says, "When it comes to the television and entertainment industry, at the moment, India is the most vibrant and fastest growing industry in the world. The strategy to expand has been guided largely by two factors. The new offerings allow us to dabble with fresh subjects that are highly popular with the audience. And they serve as a platform to reach out to a new audience, expanding our brand identity."

Sydney Suissa

Nikhil Mirchandani
Suissa allayed any fears of tough competition from Discovery Network, which is already offering Indian viewers specialised programming in the very genres that NGC Network is stepping into. Suissa reasons, "We have been in India for the last 11 years and are well established as a brand, having a strong connect with our viewers. The truth today is that the audience profile is highly fragmented. In such a scenario, it is niche programming that does the trick for the stakeholders. So, high quality, differentiated programming will make things easier for us in India."

The new channels boast of smart taglines that give viewers a taste of things to come. 'Nat Geo Wild - Life is About to get Wild' promises to highlight global environmental issues and concerns. 'Nat Geo Adventure - Let's Get Lost' offers to take the viewer to tough and amazing terrains across the globe. 'Nat Geo Music - Listen to the World' is an attempt to interpret the unique traditions and cultures of different regions and their inhabitants by showcasing their diverse, rich musical treasures. Nat Geo HD, the high definition version of the existing NGC, promises to provide viewers superior, unparalleled image and sound quality.

Nikhil Mirchandani, managing director, South Asia, National Geographic Channel, says, "We are in the process of getting a few licence clearances from the government of India, and once we get the necessary clearances, we will be ready to uplink the channels on the satellites to beam into Indian houses." The content for the channels will be global as is the case with NGC, but once the channels are up and running, a fair amount of India centric content will find its way in.

NGC Network has a huge bank of content to fall back upon for each of the channels. Mirchandani shares that they have original content running in hours for all the soon to be launched channels. For example, for Nat Geo Adventure, they have 300-400 hours of content, for Nat Geo Music, 100 hours of programming, including music clips and interviews, and Nat Geo HD will share the original content that currently runs on NGC.

Mirchandani says, "We want to be a pioneer when it comes to using cutting edge technology. That is why we are launching the high definition version of our existing Nat Geo Channel for viewers who possess high definition television sets. The content is bound to overlap on the two channels, but the idea is to provide an altogether unique viewing experience."

Mirchandani says about the target group they are looking at: "Globally, our TG is youth aged 25 and above. But when it comes to India, we have an interesting mix of audience cutting across the traditionally defined age groups. For example, when we talk in terms of kids, we have viewers in the age group of 15-24 years and then we have a set of young working professionals in the age bracket of 25-34 years. The next batch of our loyal followers is a large bunch of people who are 35 plus."

Mirchandani says that with such a diverse audience, India makes for an interesting and challenging environment in which to offer high quality informative, entertaining and stimulating content.

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