Since the US$750m JV with 21 Century Fox, NatGeo’s commercial assets moved to into a new structure – NG Partners (NGP). NGP is a corporate entity with over 25 per cent of proceeds going to support science and exploration. National Geographic Society (NGS) remains non-profit.
Underpinning Yulia’s presentation was the fact that Nat Geo has been innovating and disrupting itself since its conception in 1888. A notable example, she said, was in 1906 when its first editor decided to use photographs in the magazine for the first time – prompting two board members to resign in disgust, for “turning reputable journal into a “photobook”. Looking back now, it’s hard to imagine the Nat Geo brand without the visual hooks – photos are right at its heart, reflected in the fact that it’s the number one media brand on Instagram.
Yulia emphasised how Nat Geo “turbo-charges” events through its storytelling, touching hearts and minds – and how, because of this history of moving, memorable storytelling, the brand is well placed for change. By consistently investing and believing in science, the brand becomes defined by this.
As Yulia outlined, the four overarching priorities for Nat Geo are:
After the brand was named ‘king of the social media jungle’ by AdWeek, they are working on maintaining this special position by focusing on three main areas:
Content for Nat Geo, as Boyle went on, starts with its wonderful people. Termed the “dreamers”, this team of explorers, photographers, scientists and adventurers receive travel grants to go to all corners of the world and tell the amazing stories associated with Nat Geo.
Boyle stressed that Nat Geo occupies a unique position in terms of its legacy, with cutting-edge technology and photographic talent that other publications just don’t have access to.
Nat Geo is noticeably dominant in the animal category – both online and print. Animal-related content is the brand’s number one content driver and generates the top Facebook traffic; its most engaged-with story last year was “Unbelievably cute mammal with teddy bear face rediscovered”.
On the other hand, Boyle stressed that at Nat Geo they really don’t shy away from tackling the big, difficult subjects like climate change and food waste, as seen in recent editions which were distributed at the Paris climate change talks. Urgent action is imperative to staying ahead of the game and anticipating the next exciting story, she added.
Further, Nat Geo’s expeditions business is growing 20 per cent year on year, tied in with travel magazine and guide books. Growth continues in other areas too, with a focus on realtime content that’s frequent, local, visual, and utilises the personalities of presenters where possible. This year, the brand is doubling the content it gets from local-language partners, which can then be reproduced in the US magazine and online.
Building on its legacy and success so far, Nat Geo is set to become the world’s leading destination for premium science, adventure, and exploration content.
Boyle highlighted that the intersection of great content and technology is of great interest to the brand; exciting innovations are very important for moving forward. Nat Geo reaches 730 million people worldwide, and is becoming popular outside of its traditional channels (magazine, TV) as it branches out more into exhibitions, adventures, private jet programmes, trips, and expeditions. The aim, Yulia said, is to create an environment where people can associate with all of these channels.
More impressive figures followed: Nat Geo magazines and books reach 200 million people; the channel reaches 500 million in households in 171 countries; the brand has 68 offices around the world, and has seen a 25 per cent growth online in just three years. There are 38 local-language editions of the main magazine, and 18 of the Nat Geo Traveller magazine.
There’s also a large and incredibly engaged fanbase on social media. Nat Geo boasts 170 million Facebook fans, 20 million Twitter followers, eight million views on Google+, and 53 million Instagram followers. What’s more, Yulia explained that they tend to upload a lot of their videos directly onto Facebook, because it gives priority to brands using its native video player. It’s a true leader on social media, working with all the new platforms – Snapchat and Apple News most recently.
And it works, Boyle stressed: they’re so successful on these platforms because they’re not afraid to be playful, fun and light-hearted when approaching the important issues, which inevitably attracts a younger demographic. Photos are key – 90 Nat Geo photographers have been given the login to the official Instagram account, which aside from being completely non-commercial, is awash with beautiful photos from these photographers who post from their locations all over the world. The result is very high engagement, with 75 per cent of engagers being millennials.
For her closing remarks, Boyle emphasised improving user experience as a priority for Nat Geo in the future, while infusing the best of science, exploration and storytelling. In looking to simplify the user experience, they hope to achieve:
More like this
Over the last couple of years, teams at IDG have been engaged in robust tactical changes, becoming laser-focused on data to understand their audiences’ needs and growth.23rd Oct 2017 Features
There is now a small but growing number of examples of magazine brands who have harnessed Facebook Live to increase brand awareness, especially among a younger audience. One intriguing example though of how a media brand has worked in a commercial way with a third party on Facebook Live is Heat’s recent campaign with Lifetime TV.23rd Oct 2017 Features
British GQ has launched a new partnership with social music platform Vero, to increase engagement and bring its audience (and new audience) specially-commissioned content focusing on music and music lifestyle.23rd Oct 2017 Features
We speak to The New European’s editor, Matt Kelly, on pop up publishing, identity media and how a ‘digital guy’ has ended up helming this year’s most noteworthy print success.18th Oct 2017 Features
Magazines are a shortcut to quality and continues to deliver top results for advertisers, according to Linda Thomas Brooks, CEO at MPA, USA, said during a keynote on the second day of the FIPP World Congress in London (11 October) last week.16th Oct 2017 Features
Digital editions have been around for a long time, going all the way back to the late 90's. But in 2010 when the iPad hit the digital runway, publishers jumped on the tablet bandwagon faster than they could shout, “Hallelujah!”. The struggling publishing industry had found itself a saviour.16th Oct 2017 Opinion
View and download the speaker presentations from the FIPP World Congress, 9-11 October 2017, London.19th Oct 2017 FIPP News
Without bringing newly skilled people into newsrooms, publishers will not succeed in the future. This was the stark warning delivered by Ralph Büchi, COO of the Ringier Group, CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland and newly elected chairman of FIPP, the network for global media.16th Oct 2017 Features
Artificial intelligence is a key technology that will transform many industries in the coming years. It is already playing an important role in the media, largely driven by the experiments of platforms like Google and Facebook.15th Oct 2017 Features
Visit our Youtube channelFIND OUT MORE
FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the worldFIND OUT MORE
Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovationsFIND OUT MORE
What’s happening now, what’s coming next