Broadcasters, NEWS — 09/07/2010 2:06 PM

Natgeo and Discovery battle in India

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National Geographic: Nat Geo’s talent hunttv-birth-control-india1
Arunima Mishra / New Delhi

(Business Standard / September 06)

Fox International Channel’s National Geographic is doing all that it can to climb up the ladder in the non-fiction genre. After seven new channels in June — Fox Crime, FX, National Geographic HD, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Wild, NG Music and Baby TV — it launched its Telugu feed during mid-August. And now it’s rolling out Airtel Nat Geo Young Explorer, an initiative with Airtel to identify India’s young talents who have the curiosity to explore the world.

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During the two-month initiative, which kicked off on August 28, Nat Geo will focus on school kids. Fox International Channel & National Geographic Network India Managing Director Keerthan Adyanthya says: “We wanted to do a school-contact programme, and Airtel approached us. While Airtel is the sponsor, we will conceptualise the quiz as well as the trail of other activities. We will zero in on 400 schools across Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai where kids from sixth to eighth standards can participate. Apart from on-ground activations like posters, our fan page on Facebook and other peer-to-peer networks are the below-the-line activities for the Young Explorer.”

In addition, Nat Geo (currently distributed in 45 million cable and satellite homes in India) is coming up with a new series on wild-life experiences soon. It will undergo some programme-related changes as well. Says Adyanthya: “The trend is now segmentation. And, every player is now gearing up for specific content. Loads of activities are on the cards at Nat Geo.”

According to TAM India (January-August 2010), Nat Geo has garnered a 22.4 per cent share in the infotainment space. It’s far behind arch rival Discovery Channel (56.2 per cent).

While Animal Planet is just behind Nat Geo with 17.7 per cent share; recently-launched Discovery Turbo and Discovery Science have got 0.2 per cent share each in the infotainment genre among viewers of four years and above. Adyanthya says: “Discovery has got the fast-mover advantage in India. But, with our new team, we will be announcing new programmes every month. And, just after 20 days of Nat Geo Telugu launch, we are receiving feedback to make it more colloquial to strike a chord in Andhra Pradesh. We chose Andhra Pradesh as it’s got the highest conglomeration of cable and satellite homes in the country. There’s a plan for a couple of shows in the local language.”

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What’s happening at Discovery (which also launched its Tamil feed in January this year followed by three new channels: Discovery Science, Discovery HD World and Discovery Turbo)? Discovery Networks is coming up with five new channels soon: Discovery Home and Health, a women’s lifestyle channel, Discovery Kids, ID (Investigation Discovery), Military Channel and Discovery 3D. It has recently renamed Discovery Travel & Living as TLC across 20 countries in Asia. Rahul Johri, senior vice-president & general manager, India, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, says: “The new programming line-up on TLC will have over 150 hours of content that includes 15 premiere shows, six new hosts, 11 new seasons and innovative genres such as extreme adventure, family and makeovers. It will add a new dimension to lifestyle programming by introducing innovative formats, spunkier hosts and swankier locales with the ultimate viewing experience.”

Article in Business Standard

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