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NGC has planed a media buzz for the next big budget 'Mission Mars'

MUMBAI: Guess what it pays to package. After the success of Mission Everest, National Geographic Channel has announced its next big programming and marketing initiative Mission Mars. The infotainment channel plans to invest $ 2 million for the initiative.

In a bid to spread the spirit of exploration and adventure, the latest initiative Mission Mars is another big step towards emphasizing the channel's positioning as the provider of wholesome, credible entertainment, says a company release.

Scheduled to air in January 2004, to coincide with Nasa's probes landing on Mars, the special will provide an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Nasa. The channel will also offer a special peek into works of the scientists at the Jet propulsion laboratory in California, the masterminds of the Mars space program.

The programme will include new images from the probes that will shed more light the on the question that haunts astronomers and scientists the world over. NGC's Mars special is scheduled as a global television event taking armchair viewers on a thrilling ride through space.

According to National Geographic Channel managing director Zubin Gandevia, "Mission Mars is our biggest initiative after Mission Everest. This programme reinforces our endeavour to make exploration and adventure a part of our viewers' lives".

Taking an inspiration from Mission Everest's success, which was instrumental in broad basing the channel's viewership and increasing advertising revenues, Mission Mars is the next significant property for the infotainment channel. It will connect directly with its viewers through interactive elements and viewer participation and also provide the advertisers with an enduring property to associate with.

According to the release,Mission Mars as a platform is likely to increase the channel viewership by 20 per cent as compared to Mission Everest and boost advertising revenues by 40 -50 per cent. It plans to target both viewers and advertisers with exciting outreach programmes by formulating on air, on ground and online events around the initiative.

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