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National Geographic Takes Global Approach

Sep 30, 2007  •  Post A Comment

National Geographic Channel is taking on a more international cast, both on screen and behind the scenes.
Six months after David Haslingden, CEO of National Geographic Channel International and Fox International Channels, succeeded Laureen Ong as head of the U.S. channel, he’s taken a number of steps to put it more in line with the other National Geographic networks around the world.
The changes range from a new graphics package that is similar to those used abroad to rearranging the offices at the channel’s Washington, D.C., headquarters to put the U.S. channel’s programming, marketing, finance, business affairs and communications executives closer to their international counterparts.
One goal of the new strategy is to develop programming with an international mindset that can be premiered on a worldwide basis, said Steve Schiffman, acting general manger of the National Geographic Channel in the U.S, which is a joint venture of National Geographic Ventures and Fox Cable Networks.
“There are all sorts of benefits to that in terms of co-production synergies, but also in ad sales synergies of being able to create global partnerships,” Mr. Schiffman said.
National Geographic already has several shows lined up for global debuts, led by “Man Made: Queen Mary 2” on Nov. 15 and “Dino Autopsy” and “Dino Death Trap” on Dec. 9.
The network also is negotiating with potential sponsors for “Six Degrees That May Change the World,” a special to air in February that uses computer graphics to show how rising temperatures will affect the planet. The show is part of a Preserve Our Planet initiative designed to help consumers understand what they can do to protect the environment.
The network’s new graphics package debuts today.
While the old graphics were red to draw attention, the new graphics are more like the one used by National Geographic channels internationally. They are more contemporary and use a muted palette of gray, white and yellow, which allows the channel’s nature photography to stand out more. The network’s logo, which used to emphasize the word “Channel” to alert consumers that National Geographic was on TV, now features all three words the same size.
The new graphics also signal the channel’s maturation. Since its launch in 2001, National Geographic Channel has grown to 64 million subscribers. In the second quarter, it ranked 38th among ad-supported cable networks in total prime-time viewers.
“This really is a visual manifestation of the broader synergies that are going on with the National Geographic Channel here in the U.S. and National Geographic International around the globe,” Mr. Schiffman said.

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