Times they are a changin’. With associations and tie-ups on the rise, channels are making every effort to increase visibility through relevant networks. Two channels – National Geographic and History Channel – are already reaching out to children through various programming initiatives and events.
National Geographic came up with two new initiatives – ‘Nokia Innovation’ and ‘Mission Mars’. Nokia Innovation was an on ground initiative that was launched as an extension of the programming, which received tremendous response from school children who had participated with their innovative ideas to win a large cash prize.
Mission Mars school contact programme was also a great hit with children, where a theme based ‘space’ contest was held across schools in India – with the winners being given a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit NASA.
While History Channel does not have any active association with schools as of now, the channel’s V-P, Marketing, Rajesh Sheshadri, said, “As a channel, we endeavour to showcase programming that is educative in an entertaining format. Several topics covered are part of the history syllabus in schools (For example, the recently aired French Revolution). Hence, several teachers recommend the channel to students on a regular basis.”
In January 2005, National Geographic introduced Nat Geo Junior – an exciting band of internationally acclaimed shows on adventure, animation and science. Involving bright and fast paced shows such as ‘Backyard Science’ and ‘Doc Eureka’, the band has been well appreciated by children and parents across India.
Sheshadri, who is also the Vice-President, Marketing of National Geographic India, divulged further on the Nat Geo Junior show, “Young children are put into an unknown environment – the desert, the Arctic region, the jungles – where they are expected to learn about conservation, explore their world, survive the harsher conditions and, therefore, learn from their experiences – all under the supervision of experienced staff.”
The channels are also assuring that content finds wide acceptance and are reliable and authentic. This issue becomes all the more critical for History Channel. When asked how the issue of authenticity is dealt with, Sheshadri replied, “We are very particular about the due diligence process for the programming. The research has to be very extensive. The nature of the source depends on the documentary in question. Some of regular sources include expert opinions, libraries and books. Differing points of view are presented so that viewers may then make an informed choice. The elements of every documentary are verified at three different sources.”
Not to be left behind, kids entertainment channels like Cartoon Network and Disney are also busy vying for children’s attention. Whether it’s education or entertainment, this segment is too important to be overlooked.
The channels now are only too aware of the benefits such synergies and associations can bring for their brand.