Shark Week Puts Up Impressive Numbers Despite Backlash

By Sheldon Levine - Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 8:00 am  

Shark WeekAnother Shark Week has come and gone.

Everyone’s favourite week of television devoted to the worlds most cunning killing machine has just finished running for it’s 27th time. Yes, Shark Week has been an annual event on Discovery Channel since 1988 making it the longest running cable television programming event in history.

With such a long running history that pulls in millions of viewers a year, we were curious just how popular the event was on social media. To find out, we did a little digging on the social media numbers behind Shark Week by looking up mentions of it using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software.

We looked for mentions of #sharkweek OR “shark week” OR #sharkweek14 OR #sharkweek2014 and found 2,138 blog posts, 3,296 online news articles, 692 forum postings and 1,647,658 tweets between August 10-17.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

During the same time period we found 85,772 posts on Tumblr of all sorts that also made mention of Shark Week.

Sysomos MAP - Tumblr Activity Summary

And on Facebook, we were able to find over 17,000 public status updates that were talking about Shark Week.

Sysomos MAP - Facebook Activity

These are pretty impressive numbers. But as we did a little more digging, we found that people didn’t seem to be as in to Shark Week as you might have thought. When we looked at how some of those numbers above played out over time in our popularity chart we found that Shark Week was a big deal when the week kicked off, but then tailed off as the week went on. Sunday August 10th was the first night of Shark Week and was the day that saw the most people talking about it. As the week progressed though people were talking less and less about Shark Week.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart

Another disturbing thing that we found while looking at the numbers around Shark Week was that people seemed to be complaining about it. When we looked at the sentiment around the entire week of shark related programming we actually found that only 11% of the conversations about Shark Week came through as positive. At the same time, a whopping 40% of Shark Week conversations had a negative connotation.

Sysomos MAP - Sentiment Summary

Some of this negative talk may have been due to some of the programming that has come into play over the years during Shark Week is fictional stories about sharks, while it was traditionally a week about learning real facts about sharks. This year Shark Week kicked off with a special called Submarine Shark. The story was based off the tales of a giant shark in South Africa that was actually made up by reporters in the area to see if they could fool readers. The tale grew into an urban legend with people claiming to catch a glimpse of the shark, but no evidence ever surfacing. People felt duped because they thought they were watching a documentary about a real shark and took to social media to complain about it. However, Discovery Channel never claimed that any of it was real and the the Shark Week Twitter account even asked it’s followers if they believe that the shark exists.

Despite people’s feelings about getting tricked or knowing that some of the programming was fictional, there’s no doubt that the talk in social media definitely put up some good numbers and did its job of raising awareness for a week of “killer” programming.

Tags: , , , , , ,

One Response to “Shark Week Puts Up Impressive Numbers Despite Backlash”

  1. […] But perhaps the most impressive PR spin was Discovery’s packaging of Shark Week’s social media coverage. Discovery was quick to point out that Shark Week “generated 70 primetime Trending Topics on Twitter over 7 days” and that “13 million people had more than 21 million interactions” on Facebook “marking the strongest year ever online”. Never mind that the Twitter buzz they bragged so much about was way down from last year—Discovery also glossed over the fact that the sentiment of this conversation was far from positive. A shocking 40% of social media mentions of Shark Week were negative, while an embarrassing 11% were positive, a recent analysis by the social media monitoring company Sysomos shows. […]