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Nat Geo Beefs Up Broadband

Five new 'channels' to compete with Discovery 2/01/2008 07:00:00 PM Eastern

In a bid to grow Web traffic through better organization, National Geographic Channel is launching a broadband video Website with six subdivisions by genre.

The ad-supported site, ngcvideos.com, is launching with 1,500 clips grouped into “Animals & Nature,” “Exploration & Adventure,” “History & Events,” “People & Places,” and “Science & Technology.” The channel previously grouped its online video by show, but found that traffic on NGC Wild— a separate site devoted to wildlife—outdrew that of the show-grouped video on its main site by about 3 to 1.

“What we really saw was users were looking for an easier way to navigate the clips we had,” says Brad Dancer, Nat Geo's VP of Research and Digital Media, noting that the NGC Wild site will now also be a channel.

While nearly all of video in each category will come from the channel's shows—either straight excerpts or extra content—there will be some additional footage from the National Geographic Society, which co-owns the channel with Fox Cable Networks. And while most of the video will be clips, each channel will feature a new longer video—from 15 minutes to an hour—each week. The site will also begin letting users post clips to their own sites or share them via e-mail.

Nat Geo, which plans to add four new video channels to its Website each year, is changing its Web approach in the face of competition from the similarly themed Discovery Communications networks and The History Channel. Both have invested in online improvements in the past year, as all networks try to figure out how to best exploit their video online.

Nat Geo's main site averages about one million unique visitors a month; Discovery Channel's drew more than triple that last year, says Omniture. Combined, the Discovery channels' sites average more than 12 million uniques a month.

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