National Geographic Channel launches Tamil feed

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3 Nov 2010
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MUMBAI: National Geographic Channel is talking in regional languages to grow its distribution and advertising revenues in India, a strategy it has aggressively pushed for a year now.

After successfully launching Telugu and Bengali feeds during this strategic period, National Geographic Channel will now connect with the over 72 million Tamil speaking community across Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil feed will showcase Nat Geo's properties across science, technology, history, culture, nature and wildlife, joining the channel's language spread in Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English.

Approximately 70 per cent of distribution revenue comes from regional feeds like Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Tamil, according to Fox International Channels India MD Keertan Adyanthaya.

"In terms of distribution, the local languages help our affiliate partners to create local language offerings in order to penetrate wider and deeper among audiences. At the end of the day, it's all about creating 'choice'. Different audiences now have the power to choose the language with which they watch National Geographic Channel," says Adyanthaya.

Growing closer to the audience with regional language feeds will also help Nat Geo broaden its advertising revenue stream. "Viewers are able to watch the same award winning and mind-blowing documentaries in their own local languages. The affinity that they have for our channel grows higher. This compelling content then creates a platform which advertisers can use to reach out to their audiences," avers Adyanthaya, who was earlier business head of Star Plus.

For Nat Geo, the language spread is almost complete. "With Hindi, Bengali and Tamil, National Geographic now covers 70 per cent of audiences with their native language. Among other linguistically strong markets like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab, the depth of understanding of Hindi is high enough not to warrant a translation into the local language," explains Adyanthaya.

A media buyer notes that having regional feeds would help National Geographic grow revenue by increasing rates.

"The extent of it will depend on the improvement in performance. But over a period of time, they will be able to charge more; the increase in rates does not happen immediately," he states.

Nat Geo is moving in the right direction by increasing its footprint, other media buyers feel.

"In markets like Tamil Nadu, there is good demand for infotainment content in the local language. Discovery has had good results with regional feeds. National Geographic should also benefit if viewership incraeses in those markets by a good margin. I also see a certain amount of positive impact on distribution revenue," says a media buyer who did not want his name to be revealed.
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