is ready with a new Mission property - Nat Geo Mission Navy: Lehron Ke Sartaj. In collaboration with the Indian Navy, the channel will take viewers on a voyage on the high seas, complete with battle stations and live weaponry.
This isn't a first for the channel. It's already taken viewers to the highest point of the world with Mission Everest, in collaboration with the Indian Army. Similarly, Mission Udaan was a trip inside the Indian Air Force.
Nat Geo Mission Navy will provide five civilians a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the Navy. The civilians will be trained and imbued with the courage, grit and determination that is synonymous with the Indian Navy. The most resilient, deserving and valiant of the five finalists will have the honour of sailing with the Indian Navy's Lehron Ke Sartaj on an international tour.
The docu-reality show will go on air in January 2009. The ground selection process will start on October 12, 19 and 26 in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, respectively. All participants will undergo an interview round, followed by rigorous training to test their physical and mental attributes.
The reality format will focus on the culture, working style and other facets of the Indian Navy.
Rajesh SheshadriSpeaking about the mega series, Rajesh Sheshadri, vice-president, content and communication, NGC India, informs afaqs!, "For the first time in the history of Indian television, the uncharted world of the Indian Navy, replete with warships, submarines and missiles will be showcased through the eyes of five civilians. We'll embed them in the Navy and the last man standing will get a chance to go offshore with the Navy."
With eight engrossing episodes, the show aims to provide an insight into the lives of the men who patrol and protect the country. Its first and last episode will run for an hour, while the rest of the episodes will be 30 minutes each.
"Not many people know about the Navy. It is a silent force, so the idea behind this property was to break the silence and bring forth some interesting facets of the division," says Sheshadri.
Nat Geo has roped in two major sponsors - Samsung Mobile and Tata Motors - and talks are on with other sponsors.
Mission Navy will be extensively promoted through a 360 degree campaign, including on-air, online, print, outdoor, radio, SMS and on-ground promotions to create an interactive consumer experience.
Taking the interactive promotion a step forward, the channel has created a microsite on www.natgeotv.co.in dedicated to the show, which includes information for the participants, videos, factoids and a photo gallery.
In an official communiqué, Nikhil Mirchandani, managing director, National Geographic Channel, South Asia, says, "Our Mission properties have always showcased exceptional content, encouraging viewers to reassess the world they live in and expand their thought horizons. Through this unique initiative, we are on a nationwide hunt to choose the first lucky Indian to go on an international tour with the Indian Navy."
"Facts and details about the Indian Navy are largely unknown to the people of our country. We are, therefore, extremely pleased to welcome the cameras aboard our vessels to capture the world of the Indian Navy and present it to audiences through the show," says Admiral Sureesh Mehta, chief of the Naval Staff, in an official statement.
Though Nat Geo did not share the financial aspects of the property, Sheshadri said that this "by India, for India" show will garner mass appeal, and at the same time, help increase the TVP of the channel. "We reach the No. 1 slot internationally every time we launch a big Mission property," he adds.
For the record, National Geographic Channel Asia, which was launched on July 1, 1998, has a programming lineup that covers adventure, natural history, science, wildlife and people around the world. The channel is a business enterprise of National Geographic Television, NBC and Fox Entertainment Group.