Polar bears as content?

A fireplace channel, a fishtank channel... a polar bear channel? Why not? AT&T and Vonage thought it was a good enough idea to back with Tundra Buggy Adventure.

National Geographic is highlighting ‘polar bear cam’ broadcasts, with a pre-roll ad from sponsor AT&T and banners from Vonage, on the magazine’s website (www.ngm.com/polarbearcam) as part of a partnership with Winnipeg-HQ’d adventure tourism company Frontiers North, Alaska-based video company WildlifeHD, and the non-profit that’s financing the project, Polar Bears International. Frontiers North’s Tundra Buggy Adventure began broadcasting the footage on Oct. 16. The live daylight footage, broadcast via a T1 Internet connection in Churchill, Man. paid for by National Geographic, runs from 10 am to 5 pm EST, when it begins a loop until the next day.

‘Typically, throughout the year, we get about 500 visitors to our website a day, as an average, to TundraBuggy.com,’ Frontiers North director of marketing John Gunter tells MiC. ‘The day that the polar bear cam went live on Oct. 16, our website traffic tripled. The most we’ve had since then is about 1,750 in a day, but we average about 1,500 visitors a day. We’re interested in future use of this initiative, taking that video feed and making it available for other content providers in North America and the world. Maybe, as opposed to the fireplace channel on satellite TV or the fishtank channel, we can have the polar bear channel on satellite TV.’

The wireless network of cams was financed by Polar Bears International, which has partnered with Frontiers North since 2002. The polar bear cam project began as the first North American content offering picked up by the African company Africam.