The Playroom to manage Nat Geo channels

Omnilab Media’s broadcast and distribution services division, The Playroom, is now managing the Australian and NZ distribution of the National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure.  

The announcement:

SYDNEY, 20 January 2011 — The Playroom, a leading facilitator of production infrastructure, content aggregation and broadcast services, today announced that it was now managing the playout and distribution of the National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure channels in Australia and New Zealand.

The Playroom GM Tom Kennedy explained, “This is a major coup for The Playroom as National Geographic is one of the world’s most respected brands. The negotiations started in early 2010 when National Geographic were looking for a more independent approach to their playout and channel positioning. At that point we gave them a full tour of our Yurong Street facility and explained how we work with the other channels we playout including The Movie Network.”

The first National Geographic channel was launched in Australia in September 1997 and is now available in more than 315 million homes in 166 countries and 34 languages. In Australia National Geographic Channel reaches on average 1.6 million different people each week.

Kennedy continued, “National Geographic wanted more than someone to simply manage the playout of their channels, they were also looking for opportunities to grow their business.”

With the discussions ongoing and the partnership business model agreed National Geographic signed a multi-year contract with The Playroom for its National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure channels across Australia and New Zealand.

Kennedy added, “All the channels are being played out from The Playroom to Foxtel, Austar, Optus and Sky TV NZ with Transact and Fetch also coming online soon. I’m delighted to announce that in addition to the channels being played out from here, the entire National Geographic team have also moved into level 2 of our Yurong Street premises. In this way National Geographic can truly be integrated into our facility. Along with MTV, Droga 5 and Ignite Media the Yurong Street building has now become one of Sydney’s real media centres.”

According to Kennedy the decision by National Geographic to move to The Playroom is very much the shape of things to come. He said, “Having National Geographic on board continues The Playroom’s strategy of being Australia and New Zealand’s innovative choice for independent channel playout.”

National Geographic MD Karin Simoncini said, “We are very pleased to be working with The Playroom and Omnilab Media who are providing National Geographic channels with broadcast services that give us the flexibility and localisation capabilities that are essential to ensure the channels’ growth and increased appeal to Australian viewers. We believe Omnilab is the right partner to support the growing technical and presentation needs of our group as we expand over the years ahead. We are looking forward to the opportunities our new partnership will bring.”

Tom Kennedy concluded, “We had to work within a tight timeframe to get all the channels to air and it was a tremendous effort by our internal team and all at National Geographic. That said, from a technology perspective the integration of the new National Geographic channels was relatively seamless as our easily scalable infrastructure has been built to accommodate new channels in exactly this fashion.”

The National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure channels are all live and on air now on Foxtel, Austar, Optus and Sky TV NZ.

Source: The Playroom press release


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