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National Geographic Partners

National Geographic Partners, LLC
Joint venture
FoundedSeptember 9, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-09-09)
Headquarters1145 17th St NW, ,
Area served
Key people
Gary E. Knell (Chairman)

National Geographic Partners, LLC is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which owns 73% of shares) and the namesake non-profit scientific organization National Geographic Society (which owns 27%). The company oversees all commercial activities related to the Society, including magazine publications and television channels.

The company was originally established by 21st Century Fox (21CF) and the National Geographic Society; following the completion of Disney's acquisition of 21CF on March 20, 2019, Disney assumed 21CF's share in the joint venture.



The joint venture was established in 2015, but the National Geographic Society's relationship with 21st Century Fox goes as far as back to late 1990s, when the original News Corporation (which 21st Century Fox is one of the successors) launched National Geographic Channel (now simply branded as National Geographic) in Asia and Europe, in partnership with the Society. The original American version of the channel was launched in 2001.


On September 9, 2015, the Society announced that it would re-organize its media properties and publications into a new company known as National Geographic Partners, which would be majority-owned by 21st Century Fox with a 73% stake. This new, for-profit corporation, would own National Geographic and other magazines, as well as its affiliated television networks—most of which were already owned in joint ventures with Fox.[1] At the time of the deal's announcement, James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, quoted as saying in remarks to National Geographic that the pact created "an expanded canvas for the National Geographic brand to grow and reach customers in new ways, and to reach new customers."[2][3]

On November 2, 2015, roughly two weeks before the closing of the expanded joint venture deal,[3] National Geographic and 21st Century Fox announced that 9 percent of National Geographic's 2,000 employees, approximately 180 people, would be laid off, constituting the biggest staff reduction in the Society's history.[2]

On October 26, 2016, National Geographic announced a rebrand and the television network dropped "Channel" from its name.[4]

As a part of the acquisition of most 21st Century Fox assets, The Walt Disney Company took over 21CF's controlling stake in the joint venture. Following the acquisition, National Geographic Partners' television channels became part of the Walt Disney Television unit; with the president of the National Geographic Partners reporting directly to the Walt Disney Television chairman.[5] Disney officially closed the deal on March 20, 2019.[6]



  • National Geographic: The flagship, monthly magazine. The magazine contains articles about geography, popular science, world history, culture, current events and photography of places and things all over the world and universe. National Geographic magazine is currently published in 40 local-language editions in many countries around the world. Combined English and other language circulation is around 6.8 million monthly, with some 60 million readers.
  • National Geographic Explorer: Classroom magazine. The National Geographic School Bulletin was launched in 1919 and was replaced by the children's magazine National Geographic World in 1975. NG World was separated into the current National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Kids in 2001.
  • National Geographic History: Launched in Spring 2015.[7]
  • National Geographic Kids: A version of National Geographic Magazine for children, launched in 1975 under the name National Geographic World. It has a U.S. circulation of over 1.5 million. There are also currently 18 local-language editions of NG Kids, with another half million in circulation. An Arabic edition of the children's magazine was launched in Egypt in early 2007, and more than 42,000 copies are distributed to all the public schools in Egypt, in addition to another 15,000 single copy sales. More recently, an Albanian and Polish edition were launched.[8]
  • National Geographic Little Kids: For younger children aged 3–6
  • National Geographic Traveler: Launched in 1984. There are 18 local-language editions of NG Traveler.

Television channels

The National Geographic-branded television channels are operated as a part of this venture, but Disney's companies (Walt Disney Television in the United States, Fox Networks Group outside the United States) handle distribution and advertisement sales of the channels. In most cases internationally, the National Geographic and Disney channels cross-promote each other. In some territories, the versions of National Geographic channels are directly operated by Disney.


In 2019, National Geographic’s documentary Free Solo won Best Documentary Feature at the 91st Academy Awards,[9] and won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards.[10] The film was the second-highest grossing documentary of 2018.[11]


  1. ^ "National Geographic magazine, is now a for-profit business thanks to Fox". The Verge. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b Paul Farhi (November 3, 2015). "National Geographic Society sets biggest layoff in its history". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ a b Mahita Gajanan. "National Geographic lays off staff following 21st Century Fox merger". the Guardian.
  4. ^ Schwindt, Oriana (October 26, 2016). "National Geographic Rebrands, Drops 'Channel' From Its Name".
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 8, 2018). "Disney Unveils Top TV Executive Structure Post Fox Acquisition: Peter Rice, Dana Walden, John Landgraf, Gary Knell Joining". Deadline. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  6. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 19, 2019). "Disney Closes $71 Billion 21st Century Fox Deal". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "National Geographic History Magazine U.S Delivery". National Geographic Store.
  8. ^ Room, National Geographic Press (April 4, 2016). "National Geographic and MM Publications Ltd. Introduce Local-Language Edition of National Geographic Kids Magazine in India – National Geographic Partners Press Room".
  9. ^ Patten, Dominic (24 February 2019). "'Free Solo' Wins Best Documentary Feature, Gets First Bleep Of Oscars 2019". Deadline. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  10. ^ Sheehan, Paul (10 February 2019). "2019 BAFTA Awards: 'Roma' wins Best Picture and Director, 'The Favourite' takes 7". Gold Derby. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  11. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (3 February 2019). "Box Office: 'Free Solo' Becomes Second-Biggest Documentary of 2018". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2019.

External links