National Geographic Channel is launching
an ambitious global television project across several
platforms that dwarfs
previous efforts based
on the upcoming series
Spread across affiliate,
ad sales and advancedmedia
push behind the sevenpart
event series, which
premieres on TV on Sunday,
Nov. 7, encompasses
the portfolios of the network’s
Geographic Society and
Fox Networks, as well as a host of other partners.
Some three years in the making, the documentary, filmed
in high-definition from land and air, in trees and cliff -blinds,
on ice floes and underwater, reveals the beauty of migrating
animals, underscored by new knowledge of these species’
fragile existence and their life-and-death quest for survival
in an ever-changing world. Great Migrations premiere
specials include four core hours chronicling epic animal
migrations, narrated by Alec Baldwin.
An additional hour provides a scientific investigation of
animal migrations, while another affords a behind-thescenes
look at the advanced technology, dramatic challenges
and passion required to capture the shots. There
is also an hour-long visual concert comprising stunning
footage set to original music.
Nat Geo Channel executive vice president of marketing
Kiera Hynninen called the effort the network’s “most
extensive marketing program. It’s more than double anything
we’ve done in the past.”
The program affords plenty of affiliate opportunities.
Distributors can provide students with the opportunity
to interact in a virtual live assembly held at Sea World in
Orlando, Fla., with Nat Geo filmmakers, while a Great Migrations
online educational hub supplies students and educators
with classroom materials and resources including
lesson plans, activities and video clips.
Affiliates, reaching the full breadth of Nat Geo’s 48 million
video-on-demand-enabled households, are housing 15-minute
segments from six of the installments, as well as the full
music hour in advance of the documentary series’ premiere
and will gain greater on-demand access in December.
Nat Geo has also fashioned an local ad sales component,
incentivizing participants by off ering them the flexibility
to use the program to reward account execs, top
clients or schools. Nationally, four advertisers led by presenting
sponsors Honda and UPS, as well as BASF and
DirecTV, have secured all of the national inventory in the
event, according to Nat Geo officials.
On the promotional front, NGC’s eff orts will include
full-page ads in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times
and USAToday; messaging and on-air snipes during Fox
Sports’ Major League Baseball postseason coverage; a
schedule in Landmark Th eaters; exposure on the Times
Square Jumbotron; a consumer event at Grand Central
Terminal on Nov. 2 featuring giant HD projection screens;
and banner ads on an array of Fox websites .
There is also a “seven-figure” cable advertising outlay, via
a mix of national and local buys across more than a dozen
networks reaching key DMAs. “We’re going broader locally.
We like to give back to our affiliates,” said Hynninen.