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National Geographic launches new kids channel for Middle East region

Free-to-air channel to offer 24 hour programming on science and education

18:12 November 20, 2017

Abu Dhabi: Airing 24-hour programming on science and education for young children in the Middle East, National Geographic on Monday launched its Nat Geo Kids Abu Dhabi, a free to air channel that specifically caters to children as the company looks to offer them more television viewing options that go beyond entertainment and cartoons.

The new channel was officially beamed onto television screens across the Middle East by Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, at an event in Abu Dhabi that was also attended by other senior officials.

The new channel is a joint venture between National Geographic and Abu Dhabi Media, with the two companies having already launched Nat Geo Abu Dhabi back in 2009.

“Today is a day that marks how important it is to invest in kids’ content, especially when it comes to a specialised content in science and technology,” said Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, speaking to Gulf News about the new channel.

“We will capitalise on kids who love science and who want to specialise in science … they will be the stars in our channel,” she added.

Al Kaabi also highlighted how the channel fit in with the UAE’s focus on science and education for young children, as the country looks to prepare the next generation for the future.

“[The channel] fits the strategy of the UAE agenda 2021 … the agenda of Mars [Hope], sustainability, and the future in technology and artificial intelligence.

“[It] links to how we want the kids to look at the future, to think about the future, and to start asking questions,” she added.

Sanjay Raina, general manager and senior vice-president at Fox Networks Group, said the channel was the first of its kind, with no other channel offering 24-hour programming on educational content for young children.

“We found that in the kids’ segment a lot of people are often focused on young entertainment, like animation and cartoons which, work very well with that category.

“We believed it would be very important to give that age group — 8 to 13 — a lot of good valuable television in the areas of exploration, adventure, and science,” he added.

Raina said the channel would showcase several different types of shows on a variety of subjects.

“There is a programme called ‘Mystery Arctic’, and in this show people go and explore around Arctic regions. Another programme we have is ‘Animal Atlas’, with the show telling you all about animals and how they live.”

Raina said the channel would initially be available in Arabic, with a an English channel coming up in the future for paid viewers.