For kids’ programming, 2004 was an important year by all means and, it seems the action continues in 2005 as well. The competition for the young eyeballs is leaping ahead and now it is turning more interesting with infotainment player, National Geographic Channel, stepping in. NGC has chosen the Indian market to kick-start its initiative ‘Nat Geo Junior’, a one-hour block dedicated to kids. Beginning January 24, the block would be aired daily on the 4.00 pm band in the weekdays and it would get a two-hour band in weekends at 10.00 am.
Nat Geo Junior is targeting the CS 7–14 segment. The given slots, as per NGC officials, are prime kids viewing bands, which is a reason why the show has been placed here. While the weekday bands would be of original content, there might be some amount of repetition in the weekend bands. The property is presently being marketed on-air with cross promotions on the STAR channels. The channel would get into other mediums as well in the coming month.
Interestingly, this would be the first time in NGC history when the channel would house animation in the form of ‘Doc Eureka’, which is an animated series on inventions and inventors. Apart from this, the other properties on the ‘Nat Geo Junior’ block includes programmes like ‘Backyard Science’, which is a series on science, and the ‘Serious’ series that includes ‘Serious Desert’, ‘Serious Jungle’ and ‘Serious Arctic’.
Dilshad Master, Senior Vice President, Content and Communication, National Geographic, shares, that the genesis of launching the block came from the performance of the show ‘Mission Mars’. “We organised a school contest where we received over a lakh and a half entries from all over India. We realised that there is a huge kids audience that is viewing us and we decided to focus on this target,” says Master.
What brings forth again the importance of the Indian market in the kids’ genre on the international scene is the fact that this is the first time a special attempt to lure the younger TG is seen from the NGC stable at the global level. Earlier, we saw Disney entering the market with two channels at one time, in English and local languages, which was also a first from the Disney group. These actions only accentuate the growing competition in the Indian kids’ sector.
Master however, is quick to ensure that this block is not competing with other kids’ players. “We are not competing with the kids’ channels at all,” she asserts, “We are in a completely different space, where we will provide a combination of learning and entertainment. I don’t think any other channel is offering this.”
She shares that by virtue of National Geographic being more evolved in terms of content and programming, the initiative has come on the flagship channel and not on The History Channel, yet.