Nat Geo In 'Planet’ Push

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With an eye on harnessing affiliate interest in environmental conservation, National Geographic Channel is rolling out a multi platform educational initiative called “Preserve Our Planet.”

The effort — which the channel planned to discuss this week in Washington, D.C., at the 2007 Cable Television Public Affairs Association Forum — will offer coverage of conservation-oriented events, a series featuring conservation tips, video-on-demand content and on-air public service announcements, as well as a dedicated Web site (www.ngcpreserveourplanet.com).

“Preserve Our Planet is about helping people understand what conservation means to them,” said senior vice president of marketing and media strategy Kiera Hynninen. “It’s really about relevancy to the individuals. So many people hear about it through all walks of the media, but people don’t know what to do about it.”

The network will also encourage operators to sponsor ads and events in local markets.

“We’re going to roll the program out next fall to the entire affiliate community, then focus on roughly 10 markets by bringing local events, keynote speakers and lecturers into those markets,” said Todd Schoen, senior vice president of affiliate marketing and ad sales at Fox Cable Networks.

Schoen said the initiative was a natural extension of the Everyday Explorer program, which brings the resources of National Geographic and operators to schools to educate kids on local and global environmental issues.

That program is now in place with Cox Communications in Hampton Roads, Va.; Time Warner Cable in Kansas City, Mo.; Comcast in Bremerton, Wash.; Comcast in Memphis, Tenn.; Time Warner Cable in Columbus, Ohio; Bright House Networks in Tampa, Fla.; and Oceanic Time Warner Cable in Honolulu, Hawaii.

It is slated to expand this spring to Mediacom Communications’ system in Des Moines, Iowa; Comcast in Manchester, N.H.; Time Warner Cable in San Antonio; and Bresnan Communications in Montana.

Hynninen said they would integrate aspects of Everyday Explorer into Preserve Our Planet, such as offering lectures by National Geographic Society explorers and relevant on-demand content, but the new initiative would be much broader in scope.

“ Preserve Our Planet is not just a kids program,” Hynninen said. “It’s a broader commitment that will be demonstrated through our programming, Web site content, [public-service announcement] messaging.”

Hynninen added that conservation is already inherent in much of NGC’s programming, citing the ongoing predator-series Planet Carnivore and the upcoming Galapagos documentary debuting March 18.

“It is in our DNA,” she said. “This is what we do. This is what we expect.”

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