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National Geographic to draw more viewers

Calcutta, Aug. 27: The National Geographic Channel (NGC) has formulated a three-pronged strategy to achieve a 35 per cent increase in viewership by 2005. Currently, NGC reaches 22 million homes in India and delivers programmes in English and Hindi.

The wild life and adventure channel expects to maintain the 40 per cent growth it achieved last year. “At present, subscribers and advertisements contribute equally to our revenues. This is the most desirable equation for any channel. We are aggressively targeting our growth factors and have set aside Rs 7 crore for marketing and promotional activities this year. Our single largest investment world-wide, however, is in programming,” said managing director of NGC South Asia, Zubin Gandevia. An NGC premium programme can cost over $ 1 million per hour.

NGC expects to gain in popularity with the introduction of its new strategic exercise — NGC Way of Life. “We expect to touch around 5 million Indian homes within the next three years. The new programme has an integrated approach — on air, on ground and online — which aims to make NGC and the spirit of exploration and adventure a way of life,” explains Gandevia.

NGC has plans to kick off a strong advertising campaign and has already outlined an aggressive marketing and distribution strategy. “The interest in India-related programmes have been on the rise. Besides English and Hindi, there are plans to introduce programmes in Tamil. Our plans are to have programmes in six languages in India.” NGC is viewed in 140 countries with programmes available in 23 languages.

On air, NGC has created four genres of programming — science and technology, wild life, people and places, exploration and adventure. “The programming genres are a part of our Asia strategy and have been created after intensive research in all key markets,” said Gandevia.

Taking the strategy of reaching people on-ground further, NGC will also tie up with associations, who will be involved in projects that represent the NGC genre of programming.

The channel will also create an online ‘Explorers Club’, which will be part of its website and will complement the channel’s experience of adventure and exploration.

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