National Geographic (UK and Ireland)

National Geographic is a British pay television channel that features documentaries produced by the National Geographic Society. It features some programming similar to that on the Discovery Channel such as nature and science documentaries. The channel was launched in Europe in September 1997 and time shared initially with the failing NBC Europe until NBC Europe's demise in 1998, at which point it began timesharing with Fox Kids (in the UK, replacing the failed first iteration of Sky 2); with analogue transmission of the channel ending, and the sale of Fox Kids to Disney, timesharing was eventually superseded by 24-hour broadcasting. It was later launched worldwide including in Asia and the United States. Today, the channel is available in over 143 countries, seen in more than 160 million homes and in 25 languages.

National Geographic
Launched1 September 1997
Owned byNational Geographic Society
Fox Networks Group
(Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International)
Picture format2160p UHDTV
(downscaled to 1080i and 16:9 576i for the HDTV and SDTV feeds, respectively)
Audience shareUK:
0.05% (+1)
0.07% (Wild) (September 2015 (2015-09), BARB)
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
ReplacedSky 2
Sister channel(s)
SkyChannel 129 (HD)
Channel 229 (+1)
Channel 824 (SD)
Virgin Media (UK)Channel 266 (SD)
Channel 267 (+1)
Channel 268 (HD)
Virgin Media (Ireland)Channel 215 (SD)
Channel 221 (HD)
WightFibreChannel 84
TalkTalk TVChannel 317
BT TVChannel 317 (SD)
Channel 373 (HD)
Plusnet TVChannel 317 (SD)
Channel 373 (HD)
eir VisionChannel 526 (SD)
Channel 543 (HD)
Streaming media
Sky GoWatch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TVWatch live (UK only)
TalkTalk TVWatch live (UK only)
BT TVWatch live (UK only)
TVPlayerWatch live (UK only)

It is owned by a company called the "NGC-UK Partnership", which initially was jointly owned by the National Geographic Society and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), but in 2006, Sky's parent company News Corporation (now The Walt Disney Company) purchased 25 percent of the stake in the partnership, followed by the acquisition of BSkyB's remaining 50 percent stake by its sister company, the Fox Entertainment Group.

This includes an English-language version for the UK, Ireland, Malta and Iceland. It also includes Dutch, Italian, Norwegian and Turkish speaking channels among others. The channel's musical signature is the Elmer Bernstein composed theme that has also appeared on the National Geographic broadcast-TV specials.


The channel is owned by the NGC-UK Partnership, which was formed in 1997 as a joint venture between National Geographic Television & Film, a division of the National Geographic Society and British Sky Broadcasting through its Sky Ventures division. The NGS provides programming expertise, while BSkyB provides its expertise on distribution, marketing, commercial and advertising sales. The partnership builds and operates National Geographic channels and services across Europe. It is headquartered in London. In December 2006, News Corporation purchased 25 percent of the Society's stake in the company. This meant that BSkyB owned half company, while the National Geographic Society and News Corp held 25 percent share each.[1] In December 2007, BSkyB sold its stake in the partnership to the Fox Entertainment Group,[2][3] through its Fox Networks Group subsidiary.

HD feedEdit

The channel launched its own high-definition feed on 22 May 2006 on Sky. The channel joined Virgin Media's cable TV line-up on 30 July 2009.[4] On 5 August 2009, it was also made available on UPC Ireland's cable TV service.[5] The HD version available in the UK and Ireland was not originally a simulcast of the standard definition version of the National Geographic Channel, with some of the content coming from Rush HD, however from 1 December 2010 National Geographic Channel HD became a simulcast feed.[6]


Continuity / VoiceoversEdit

Rob Jarvis, who is well known as Eddie in Hustle is one of the two main male promo voices for this channel, along with Adam Longworth from XFM radio station.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ News Corp · 10-Q · For 12/31/06
  2. ^ British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC · 6-K · For 2/6/08
  3. ^ Press Release - British Sky Broad. - Interim Results, RNS Number:3830N, British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, 6 February 2008
  4. ^ "Virgin Media and Channel 4 bring 4HD to millions of TV screens". Virgin Media. 29 July 2009.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "UPC Ireland introduces HD". Broadband TV News. 5 August 2009.
  6. ^ "National Geographic Channel HD becomes Simulcast". Sky Programme Information. 25 November 2010.

External linksEdit