“Breakthrough”, a science and tech television series by General Electric


News published on Wednesday, April 15, 2015


This may be a first. If other companies already played the entertainment card before, General Electric is fully associated with the National Geographic Channel to produce a whole new TV series, based on the conglomerate's science and technology expertise.

As written in The New York Times, the announcement was made this week by the National Geographic Channel, along with its new programs: “Breakthrough”, co-produced with General Electric, will air for the first time in November this year. GE pointed out that it's not just a matter of placing a logo all over the screen and providing finances. The Fairfield's company is completely involved in the various aspects of the production. GE defined the themes and opened its research centers to Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, both co-producers for the show, who are among other things in charge of the screenplay.

Obviously, the six-part documentary series will be highlighting sciences and technology topics such as scientific advances, innovations, human brain, alternative energies, biotechnology, water supply, pandemics... Each hourlong episode will be directed by one of Hollywood's big names: Angela Bassett, Akiva Goldsman, Brett Ratner, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti and Ron Howard, co-chairman and funder with Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment, will be behind the camera. In front of the lens as well as behind, chances are that some of General Electric products and searchers will appear, insofar as it makes real sense.

The company and its Global Research Division, a group of nearly 4,000 scientists and engineers, aims to publicize its involvement in science and technology fields. They already adopted various kinds of advertising and marketing approaches, from the basic commercials to being active on social networks. But the viewer's attention has to be caught, and kept. Co-producing such a show is a great way to create funded programming and reach the new consumers who are more likely to switch the TV channel as soon as a commercial pops up. Likewise, for the television networks, it means a new kind of relationship with their advertisers. It's not a pragmatic seller/buyer exchange any more, it's a whole new kind of partnership with the brands and they will have to look at things from a different perspective. That said, other companies will of course be able to buy advertising spaces during “Breakthrough”.

The production has already started for several episodes. Eventually, the documentary series is planned to be released in 171 countries and 45 languages. It may be time, for this kind of show, to create a brand new name. Is it Entertizing? Or Advertainment?

*Photo: Wikipedia/ David Shankbone

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“Breakthrough”, a science and tech television series by General Electric