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National Geographic to Bring Viewers ‘Around the World’ in a Time of No Traveling – on Instagram Live

NatGeo’s director of Instagram Josh Raab tells TheWrap why livestreams are more vital during the pandemic than ever

National Geographic wants to show Instagram users the world they can’t see while they’re in quarantine or otherwise unable to travel — and that’s why Wednesday the outlet is rolling out “Around the World,” a new program using Instagram and Facebook Live.

“A lot changed, kind of overnight,” NatGeo director of Instagram Josh Raab told TheWrap about the pandemic’s effect on his team’s social plan. “Our coverage needed to adapt. We had  changes that we needed a way to report quicker and in real time. Oftentimes, our coverage can be quite delayed.”

Typically, NatGeo consumers are used to long-form projects that appear in pictorials and in print, but the 200,000,000 followers spread across the outlet’s Instagram accounts will be experiencing the company’s signature reporting style in a unique way with “Around the World.”

Raab told TheWrap that previous uses of Live resulted in “hundreds of thousands” of viewers for NatGeo and were themed around the coronavirus itself, though those weren’t planned or launched with the same scale as “Around the World” and the team recognized “a need to evolve.” The viewers, Raab said, stuck around and asked questions, leading to “a nice relationship” between the creators and consumers.

“Around The World,” which kicks off Wednesday at 11:15 a.m. ET, will be hosted by Filipe DeAndrade and will take followers to diverse ecosystems, showing off what makes them not only unique, but important to conserve. DeAndrade will have call-ins from a scientist for the European Space Agency stationed in Antarctica to the Ol Pejeta rhino sanctuary in Kenya, among numerous others. The storytelling will feel fresh, too: Raab said viewers can be on the lookout for things they don’t normally see in Instagram Live feeds, like the camera dipping underwater to show off a coral reef.

“I think giving people the unexpected is probably the best way to get them to engage and stick around,” he said, noting, National Georgraphic is telling these stories “to get people to really think deeply about conservation.”

“That’s the ethos here,” he added. “That’s what drives a lot of our coverage and the thinking behind what that coverage should be.”

Follow @Natgeo and click on the logo in the top left corner of the Nat Geo Instagram page to see the live feed when “Around the World” airs.

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