National Geographic plans innovative on air promos for 'Africa' series

National Geographic channel has lined up a special series on Africa as a part of its programming initiative. The eight-hour long compelling series premiers on September 17, 2001 at 10:00 PM in India and presents Africa through the eyes of its inhabitants.

Spread over eight episodes, the series captures personal stories and offers an intimate glimpse of life on the African continent as it is lives today, in cities and rural villages, said Vijay Raman, associate vice-president, programming, National Geographic Channel at a press briefing at south Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel on 31 August.

"Each episode of Africa combines the natural history of different African regions with the stories of contemporary people living there," says Raman. The series conveys the epic scale, power and beauty of the land and the heroism and dignity of the people who shape its future. Shot on a wide-screen super 16mm format, it reveals the enchanting beauty of landscapes and wildlife of the continent, a company release says.

Filmed over two years across 16 countries, Africa is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York (Nature series fame) in association with Tigress Productions Limited and Magic Box Mediaworks Inc.

"With these series we have set out to do something different - to look beyond the statistics and the calamities to find the human pulse of Africa. From Addis Ababa to Zanzibar, we travel throughout the continent to chart the hopes, dreams and ambitions of the people as they live their daily lives and make their way in the world," says Jennifer Lawson, series co-producer, whose inspiration for the series came from her experiences living in East Africa and traveling throughout the continent.

"In the coming days innovative and interesting promos will be aired on the Star bouquet to get in the viewers," says Raman. At the promotional level there are contests offering special prizes. Winners also get a trip to Africa, Raman adds.

Queried, as to how would a common viewer relate to the series, Raman said: "We are working towards bridging the progamme with the viewer connect. This will be done, albeit with a slight difference, and will unfold over the coming days through on air promos on the NGC and Star bouquet."

After going up to 18 hours (7 am to 1 am) in its Hindi programming band to build a viewer connect a number of interesting promos have been lined up.

And as part of its effort to develop India-specific programming, National Geographic has commissioned three stories from India on its Different Ball Game programme:-

Two of them being Kalarippayattu, the ancient martial art with its roots in the southern state of Kerala, and Bull Racing, a popular animal racing sport in villages where the bulls are decorated in all their finery before kicking off the game which draws people from villages all around being two of them.

Another India-centric series features ace Indian lensman Raghu Rai in Out There, a signature series exclusively aired on NGC. The series profiles gutsy explorers who are passionate about their professions and when out in the field will do anything to get what they are looking for.

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