To increase viewer involvement with National Geographic (NGC), the infotainment channel plans to launch a new programming initiative, Mission Mars, in January next year. The much-touted programme will coincide with NASA's probes landing on Mars. Mission Mars will be telecast across the world, with exclusive behind-the-scenes look at NASA and the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the masterminds of the Mars space programme. Mission Mars, in a way, is expected to follow up on the success of Mission Everest, launched earlier this year.
However, unlike Mission Everest, Mission Mars is going to be an international production. NGC plans to promote the programme aggressively in India through contests and interactive programmes. To that end, the channel has earmarked a marketing budget of $2 million for India alone, though, at this stage, the channel is not willing to share the kind of promotional activities it plans to undertake.
"NGC is looking at Mission Mars as a platform to increase its viewership by 20 per cent and boost advertising revenues by 40-50 per cent," says Puneet Johar, vice-president, marketing, NGC Network. "Through Mission Mars the channel plans to target both viewers and advertisers with exciting outreach programmes through on air, on ground and online events around the initiative."
Adds Zubin Gandevia, managing director, NGC, "Mission Mars is our biggest initiative after Mission Everest. This programme reinforces our endeavour to make exploration and adventure part of our viewers' lives. Mission Everest was instrumental in broad basing the channel's viewership and increasing advertising revenues. Drawing heavily from this success, Mission Mars is the next significant property for National Geographic Channel that will connect directly with its viewers through interactive elements and also provide the advertisers with an enduring property to associate with."
Mission Mars professes to include new images from the probes that will shed light on the most basic question that has troubled astronomers and scientists the world over: Is there life on Mars? © 2003 agencyfaqs!