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They haven't handled the transition to new media and values properly:

1. Their magazine: Almost all magazines have been replaced with websites. Their website dramatically undersells their content. Look at it, really. It's basically like clickhole, but with stories of climate change. The dramatic photography of the magazine is only coming across in about 50% of the photos and the headlines are all clickbait format.

2. Their television presence includes shows like "Drugs, Inc." whose primarily job is to scare old people with re-enactments of drug crimes. Who would pay for that "value"? (I guess people who watch police shows? but what does that saturated market have to do with their brand?)

3. Their youtube stream is a massive quantity of short, low-quality videos. I subscribe and only watch about 1 in 50 of them. Another problem with their videos is so few have narration which I feel is a key feature of travel and wildlife shows.

4. They haven't handled outreach to a younger generation. With all the urban young people (esp. women IMO) who love to travel the world with disposable income (no families, marrying late), NG has no selling relationship with them.

5. The global geopolitical situation is more interesting than ever with worldwide communication, but I don't see NG addressing that. Maybe they are - somewhere? - but their marketing isn't penetrating.

I feel like they could turn it around if they primarily address the youngest generation - perhaps get more involved in the travel and outdoor supplies markets.




I'd disagree with point 4. Their Instagram feed has all of the stunning beauty that National Geographic originally became famous for: https://instagram.com/natgeo/, and commands a 35.4 million person following. I'm not sure how you parlay this into a "selling relationship", but it is a great way to outreach to a younger generation.


The National Geographic Channel is a different company than the magazine and is a subsidiary of FOX. So, it's a good example of the kind of schlock that the Murdoch Empire will produce.

Despite all the issues that the magazine and non-profit org may have, they produce quality journalism. You can't say that about the TV channel.


That acquisition literally happened in September. The content has been garbage for far longer than two months.


The channel debuted with Fox as an equity partner. The transaction last month was the magazine and the rest of the TV channel.


The National Geographic Channel has been with FOX for much longer than a few months. I can't seem to find the date when FOX became involved, but it predates this acquisition by many years. This latest acquisition is just a furthering of the takeover of National Geographic by FOX.


> With all the urban young people (esp. women IMO) who love to travel the world with disposable income (no families, marrying late), NG has no selling relationship with them.

Given its mission to increase and diffuse geographical knowledge, it's remarkable to me that National Geographic doesn't operate a travel-services agency (insurance, tours, guidebooks—that kind of thing). It seems like that should be right in its wheelhouse, and could be profitable enough to fund its research projects, if competently run.


They have a travel wing. http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/ Including a partnership with a cruise line. They also have a fairly extensive travel publishing section http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/category/books/travel... . (They even have a very lightly branded travel insurance partnership http://www.travelinsure.com/custom/ngs/ )

Obviously discoverability, and advertising of these is less than ideal. A lot of it is actually verging on overextending to the brand, like "The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel" just doesn't seem a good brand expansion.


Wow, I never knew, despite my folks & grandparents being members my entire life, and it's not even on their Wikipedia page, either. As you note, the discoverability doesn't seem very good.

I guess it boils down to the 'competently run' part: if one is going to run a profit-making enterprise, one needs to advertise!


They do have a travel agency. http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com


> shows like "Drugs, Inc." whose primarily job is to scare old people with re-enactments of drug crimes. Who would pay for that "value"?

Since we're talking about Murdoch's media assets, this reminds me there's a thriving business in the "news" media based entirely on scaring (mostly) old people with fabricated alarmist stories.


The good thing about becoming a Rupert Murdoch company is that you can save a lot of money by laying off the fact-checkers.


Is that a joke?


4) I think they were trying to handle that with a spin off magazine "National Geographic Traveler". The ones I looked at weren't that compelling although beautiful. (and I love the National Geographic magazine).

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazin...


Browsing this portion of their site induced me to (attempt to) subscribe to the print edition of "Traveler." However, their subscription page automatically signs me up for "auto renewal" (with no option to opt out) and also notes that they will sell my information to other companies with no direct way to opt out. Changed my mind. I have encountered this same issue with other magazines and each time I balk when I read stuff like this. Treat me like your customer, not a product to sell to someone else. And don't require me to auto-renew before I've even read a single issue.


Re #5, at least in Thailand, they have high-quality translations of their magazine at affordable prices. But yes I wonder why they don't have a good digital back catalog.

Re #4, National Geographic Kids ebooks are available on the Reading Rainbow platform, and it is very high quality (Thanks mostly in part due to Reading Rainbow's transcription it seems)


I would agree with all your sentiments expect Drugs Inc and Underworld Inc. I don't think its designed to scare old people and the people on the show are not made up. Its a documentary. You take from it what you will. In fact I find the show to be sympathetic to both sides of drug and crime problems we have.


Sounds a lot like what VICE did. Now they're killing it.




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