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National Geographic, hardselling Pearl Harbour to boost ratings

08-May-2001
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National Geographic, hardselling Pearl Harbour to boost ratings

Even as media-watchers are keeping track of the new-born game show ‘KBC Junior’ and new-genre serials such as ‘Ji Mantriji’ and ‘Pradhan Mantri’ for a change in the TRP scene, National Geographic Channel (NGC) for the first time is hardselling a programme to boost ratings. The path being chosen: history.

The programme that NGC is cashing in on is ‘Pearl Harbor’, the US Pacific naval base in Hawaii which was attacked by Japan during the World War II, and which changed the complexion of the War altogether.

Commenting on the telecast of Pearl Harbor, Mr. LS Nayak, Executive Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Star, says that it is one of the four to six ‘‘tent-pole events’’ that the group has in a year. ‘‘We are expecting the two-hour film Pearl Harbor to be a big hit,’’ he adds. It’s an opportunity to drive the viewership of NGC, which implies TRP ratings, Mr. Nayak says. ‘‘Pearl Harbor will also help NGC get advertisements,’’ he says.

Out of the six sponsorship spots, four have been sold already, Mr. Nayak adds, without naming the sponsors. The response has been very positive. As Disney is releasing the movie in theatres worldwide, around the same time as the TV premiere—though the India movie release will be delayed—together they’re expected to boost the prospects of the channel, explains Mr. Nayak.

According to media onlookers, there are two selling points about Pearl Harbor, which will be telecast on NGC around the world including in India. The first selling point of Pearl Harbor is that it has great historical value attached to it. Two, Mr. Robert Ballard, the man who in 1985 discovered the wreckage of the Titanic ship, which sunk way back in 1898, is believed to have solved the mysteries of Pearl Harbor. Titanic, the film which captured the sinking of the big ship, was a mega hit around the world including in India.

The National Geographic Channel and its website began airing the promos of Pearl Harbor almost a month prior to the show. Both the channel and the site are attracting viewers with the line: ‘‘Can the man who found the Titanic solve the mysteries of Pearl Harbor?’’ It is followed by the announcement that ‘Legacy of Attack: Pearl Harbor’ will be shown on NGC on May 27.

While the channel and website promos are on in full swing, NGC has chalked out a series of ground events as well to make a splash with Pearl Harbor. One of the on-ground events is scheduled for Tuesday (May 8) in Delhi.

On the whole, claims the channel, ‘‘photos, footage, firsthand accounts, and narration bring the attack on Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, to life—moment by moment, target by target.’’ The website even has a full-fledged attack map of how things unfolded at Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. To put things in perspective, Pearl Harbour, the naval base in Hawaii, US, was the scene of a Japanese aerial attack on December 7, 1941, which brought the US into the World War II. The attack took place while Japanese envoys were holding so-called peace talks in Washington. More than 2,000 members of the US armed forces were destroyed or injured during the attack, which had immense political implications.

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