21st Century Fox Expands their million dollar deal to National Geographic Magazine
By: Creative Brands Bureau | New Delhi Dated: September 14, 2015
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc announced that they will expand their 18 year partnership of operating National Geographic TV channels to include the latter’s magazine and digital platforms, in deal valued at $725 million. Under the million dollar deal, Fox will own 73 percent of the new media company, called National Geographic Partners. The National Geographic Society will own 27 percent.
The complete management will fall under a joint venture named National Geographic Partners. The chair of the board will alternate annually, with National Geographic Society CEO Gary Knell set to be the first chairman. The deal is said to bring greater financial stability to the Society’s media products and its scientific research arm which have operated as a non-profit since National Geographic’s founding in 1888.
The new media partnership will be led by Declan Moore, National Geographic’s chief media officer. Moore said the partnership with 21st Century Fox and its vast media holdings will allow National Geographic to dramatically expand its efforts to remain a global leader in “visually compelling storytelling,” particularly on mobile, social, and video platforms.
“Anybody who’s been paying attention to what’s happening in the media world knows that media companies today face significant challenges to their very existence,” said Jane Lubchenco, a National Geographic board member and former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “National Geographic has hardly been immune to these market forces, and its previously successful business model has been at risk.”
Lubchenco noted that as other media companies shrink, the deal enables National Geographic to expand its work in science and storytelling. National Geographic Partners will include National Geographic’s domestic and international channels, National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Kids and Little Kids magazines, travel media, National Geographic Studios, National Geographic Maps, National Geographic Books and Home Entertainment, travel expeditions, licensing and merchandising, eCommerce, National Geographic Creative, and location-based entertainment, as well as related digital and social media platforms.
Gary E. Knell, who will remain as CEO of the National Geographic Society, said the partnership means that “we will now have the scale and reach to fulfill our mission long into the future. The Society’s work will be the engine that feeds our content creation efforts, enabling us to share that work with even larger audiences and achieve more impact. It’s a virtuous cycle.”
The deal comes at a time when media organizations in general are struggling to overcome declining readership and advertising for print publications, and are looking for ways to create new revenue streams on digital platforms. National Geographic is on more secure financial footing than many other media, but subscriptions to its magazine have declined from a peak of 10.8 million in 1989 to about 4 million today. National Geographic’s declines in advertising this year have been in line with a 10 percent industry-wide decline for monthly magazines. “Our partners at 21st Century Fox have been extraordinarily collaborative for nearly two decades,” he said. “And we are certain that the future is brighter as a result of today’s announcement.”