Where Are The National Geographic Magazines Heading?
I read an interview with Gary Knell, the CEO of National Geographic Partners, the other day and it impressed me a great deal about how he plans to steer the company. For those who don’t know what National Geographic Partners is, it is the Fox-owned branch of National Geographic Society that deals with the magazines and television channels associated with National Geographic.
So far, they have done a great job at keeping the brand mostly focused on what it stands for. Granted, there have been some injections of their views on faith around Christmas, but those seem to fit with the holiday season so I don’t really hold that against them…much.
In the interview, Mr. Knell said that his aim is to let the writers and explorers behind the articles and shows at National Geographic do what they do best: create great content for the readers and viewers at home. It is his belief that if they create great content, we will invest and stay with them.
He also thinks that Disney buying out Fox (both the studio and their tv networks) and getting National Geographic Partners in the process wouldn’t be a bad thing for the brand. He hypothesized that Disney would help them continue to put out great products and possibly expand their reach. I have to agree that Disney would help them reach more people and that Disney has done a good job of preserving the core of any brand it has acquired overall in recent history.
Just look at Marvel and Star Wars, for example. DC Comics is not doing as well as some would like, but they have also been having an uphill battle since the 90s when Marvel took the lead between the two. Disney getting into nonfiction with National Geographic could help their image as well. They have primarily been a company about imagination and fictional worlds. But if they managed to get this acquisition, they would be a company also helping to educate future generations at the same time.
Of course, you also have Comcast trying to acquire 21st Century Fox at the same time, though the president of 21st Century Fox has said he sees the company as a better fit with Disney than Comcast. I have to agree with the president of 21st Century Fox.
Disney is more aimed at kids, much like many of Fox’s and National Geographic’s products that transition with them into adulthood. It would be a good fit for Disney. Though it will be 2019 before the deal is finalized at the earliest.
It remains to be seen what will happen. Though from where this writer sits the future looks bright. I am looking forward to seeing what the next chapter holds for National Geographic Magazines and Television. So far it has been rather enjoyable and informative, as I am sure it will be in the future that Gary Knell intends it to be.
*Tips his hat and walks out the door.*