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NGC open to launching third channel in DTH environment

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MUMBAI: While Discovery is all set to bring in another channel Discovery Travel and Living on 18 October National Geographic is looking at addressability coming into India and settling down before taking a firm decision on bringing more channels into the country.



Speaking to Indiantelevision.com National Geographic Channel (NGC) India MD Zubin Gandevia said that at the moment there were no plans to bring in a third channel. "Currently we have nothing in the pipeline. Right now our focus is on our two strong brands. When DTH comes in (read Star's Space TV) then we could look at introducing another channel next year. However at the moment that is not a priority for us."



Gandevia said that for next year National Geographic Channel (NGC) would look at having three-four localised series at the very least. At the moment around 10 per cent of the content comes from India.



"We have an India Hour from 8-10 pm on Thursday where we showcase films made in India. However our philosophy is that it is not the content that needs to be local but rather its presentation.



"So we don't feel that it is important where the content is from. Even if it comes from Alaska as long as the show tells a great story and be backed up by great production values. Our audience should be able to relate with it. Conversely if you have a made in India product that has not been not backed up by a great story then it will not work. Our localisation process involves dubbing in Hindi. When we do promotions we try and bring a local angle to it.



"There are great production people in India. However our projects will be done keeping in mind not just India but also the global audience. The cost of a show

could go from Rs. 5 million to as much as Rs. 50 million. Mission Everest, which we did last year, cost us $1.4 million. Taxi Ride would of course be much less."



As had been reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com NGC has launched its biggest localised initiative to date Nokia Innovations. Besides the on-air show which airs every Sunday at 10 pm there will be an on-ground initiative. This is a tie up that NGC has done with the mobile service provider Nokia and IIT Delhi to find Indians who have turned their creative genius into technology that benefits the country.



"The show is about cutting edge technological developments. It is exactly what our brand values are about. It also means taking our mission beyond the

channel through an award which we have instituted for kids. Nokia's brand values are also about innovations. So they have managed to go beyond plain vanilla advertising. They are a partner in the true sense of the word."



NGC will visit several schools across the country in this regard. However the main thrust will rest on promoting the show on the Star network. The outdoor campaign kicked off with hoardings being seen in

prominent places.



"When we green light a local project it is important that it should resonate key NGC values. Research and credibility are paramount in importance. It should be

cutting edge. At the moment because of the scale of Innovations our focus on the kids genre is just that show. Once it gets over we would certainly look at expanding our repertoire in that genre."



As far as channel share is concerned Gandevia claimed that data over the past several weeks showed that it was neck and neck with Discovery. "We look at trends over several weeks. However we do not define competition as just Discovery because together we are not that big. Our audience can also come from music

and sports channels."



On the advertising front NGC is looking at more than doubling revenues.. As per Indiantelevison.com estimates the broadcaster earned Rs. 150 million in the previous fiscal. If our assessment is correct then Gandevia is looking at a haul of over Rs. 300 million.



The channel recently invested in a team of ad sales professionals who are exclusive to NGC. "We have also invested a lot of effort in providing solutions for advertisers to invest in our brand. To give you an example earlier we never had a confectionery brand advertising. Now we have Perfetti. Hero Honda has returned after being absent for a year" Gandevia added.



While not being specific Gandevia sounded an optimistic note about providing content online in the future. "We already have access to exclusive broadband content. Already on our India site visitors can view clips and promotional material from our shows. With the amount of bandwidth available in the country growing rapidly online content is an area that shows promise."

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