The National Geographic Channel Network today announced its entry into High Definition television in India with the launch of four new channels but admitted that it was still awaiting downlinking permission from the Information and Broadcasting ministry.
Apart from the Network’s core Nat Geo channel which would also be simulcast as Nat Geo HD, the other three channels are Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Music, and Nat Geo Adventure. NGC International (NGCI) Executive Vice President – Content Sydney Suissa claimed that they were all different from other channels of similar content being beamed into India.
NGC Managing Director – South Asia Nikhil Mirchandani said at a press conference here that the channels were already being aired in Asia and would be beamed into India within weeks of getting the necessary permissions. He said the NGC had applied some weeks earlier and had also commenced dialogues with cable networks and direct-to-home service providers. Details about subscription and revenue would be decided after the clearance from the government.
The core Nat Geo Channel has already been present in the country for 11 years and is now being shot in HD format, though it is beamed in the country in Standard Definition format. Mirchandani said that the SD format would gradually be phased out as people in the country switch to HD technology.
Suissa said that the music channel would have unique content as it would not be based merely on renowned singers but would also focus on local, indigenous and folk musical forms from all over the world. It would have renowned artistes in its Geo Sessions slot.
The other two channels – Adventure and Wild – would also be unique in that they would go to places and show content no other channels are showing at present. The Nat Geo Wild will also attempt to highlight the message of preserving wildlife and the planet, while Nat Geo Adventure works on the catchline ‘Lt’s Get Lost’. The Nat Geo Wild will have around 350 to 400 hours of premiere programming while Adventure will have around 250 hours.
Through the new channels, viewers will be able to access a comprehensive and diverse bouquet of accurate, credible and entertaining programming suitable for the entire family, Suissa said.
Added Mirchandani: “The core channel will continue to expand its successful contemporary science, technology and exploration strands and will be clearly differentiated from the specialist Nat Geo Channels. We are well-known for our commitment to compelling programming across genres and we feel that this is the right time to launch new channels that will cater to the growing public appetite for high quality television viewing. The plan is in alignment with the NGC Network’s strategy to offer its viewers a compelling offering on the DTH platform.”
Noting that 95 per cent of all NGC programmes are already shot in high definition format, Suissa said Nat Geo HD will use enhanced picture frame composition, sharper picture quality and surround sound system.
Mirchandani noted that India was one of the upmarkets for NGC, which presently beamed to 160 countries. He claimed the core National Geographic Channel continues to grow in viewership and revenues.