Posts Tagged ‘Shark Week’

Guest Post: The Convergence of Social Media and TV

October 21, 2013 | by aharris

Today’s guest post on Discovery Blog is from Pam Pearce, Senior Director of Ad Sales Research, for Discovery Communications.

Discovery Communications LogoTV watching has always been an inherently social experience. However, over the past few years, the rapid growth of social media platforms and the recognition of this by programmers has significantly changed the way many viewers watch television. According to Nielsen, nearly half of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens daily while watching TV. Among those engaging with a second screen, half of them visit social media sites.  As networks explore new ways to engage with audiences, custom hash tags, real-time engagement with talent and socially enhanced shows have quickly become the norm.

In an effort to deepen our understanding of the various ways in which social media and TV intersect, Discovery’s Curiosity Lab took a look at two recent Discovery Channel events – Shark Week and Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda. Two surveys were conducted to determine how viewers interacted socially with the programs and what effects social conversations had on their viewing behavior. The results of these studies highlight several of the many ways social media can impact TV audiences.

Social Media, Tune-in and Enhanced Engagement

Throughout its 26-year history, the popularity of Shark Week has extended beyond just the TV viewing experience. In recent years, the buzz around Shark Week has continued to grow; although much of the water-cooler conversation has now moved online (the annual event generated 2.6 million Tweets from August 4-10, a 63% increase over 2012).

Not too surprisingly, the results of the Curiosity Lab survey confirmed the highly sharable nature of Shark Week. For instance, four in 10 viewers said they frequently found themselves talking about Shark Week, with nearly six in 10 declaring Shark Week “an experience that should be shared with others.”

While more than a third of viewers overall agreed that “Social media was made for an event like Shark Week,” it was among regular viewers of Discovery (those that watch once a week or more) that social media proved to have the greatest impact.  While promos were a key force in driving awareness and tune-in, 20% of regular Discovery viewers said that social media was “very or extremely influential” in their decision to watch the annual programming event, with similar percentages saying they had seen a post about Shark Week on social media (2x more than among non-regular viewers).

For regular viewers of Discovery, Social media provided an opportunity to deepen their viewing experience allowing them to move from audience members to event advocates. Compared to non-regular viewers, regular viewers of Discovery were:

  • More than 3 x more likely to post about the event on social media or text a friend about Shark Week.
  • More than 4x more likely to encourage others to watch Shark Week via social media.
  • 2x more likely to be part of the Shark Week social conversation by checking out what others were saying.
  • 70% more likely to call or tell a friend about Shark Week in person.

Social platforms also helped connect the community of Shark Week fans, bringing them back night after night to share in the experience. The more a viewer tuned in, the more likely they were to join the social conversation. Among heavy Shark Week viewers (those that watched 5+ Shark Week programs), 72% participated in some social activity.

Multiplatform Activities During Shark Week 2013

For Shark Week, social media served as a tool by which passionate viewers could not only enhance their own personal viewing experience but also share their excitement around the event with others.

When A Must-See Event Becomes A Must-Share Experience

On Sunday June 23rd, 21 million viewers were glued to their TVs wondering if Nik Wallenda would make it across the Grand Canyon. For many of those Skywire Live viewers, however, just watching on their TV was not enough. During this “must see TV event” many were driven to reach beyond the TV screen, seeking ways to extend their viewing experience to another screen or invite others to share it with them. More than half (57%) of Skywire Live viewers reported taking some action around the event, with nearly half (48%) saying they had “shared” the event in some way. By the time the Walk was completed, Skywire Live was responsible for 1.3 million Tweets, dozens of Worldwide and U.S. Twitter Trending Topics and a peak of nearly 40,000 Tweets per minute as Wallenda reached the other side of the Grand Canyon.

As with Shark Week, many regular viewers of Discovery took to Twitter and Facebook to share the event; however, for Skywire Live, social media actually proved to be a powerful tool for bringing new viewers to network. The real-time, “must-see” nature of Skywire Live made social media the ideal platform for drawing viewers in, speaking directly to those (on Twitter and Facebook) who were looking to engage in “the now.”  According to the Curiosity Lab survey, more than half of non-regular Discovery viewers who tuned into Skywire Live said that social media contributed to their decision to watch, with 21% saying that social media was “very or extremely influential.”

While both regular and non-regular viewers were equally as likely to say they heard about Skywire Live via a post on social media (10%), non-regular Discovery viewers were more than twice as likely to say posts on social media influenced their decision to tune in (compared to regular Discovery viewers).

Skywire Live Non-Regular Discovery Viewers: Promos


Traditional promos and news stories about Skywire Live certainly played a significant role in driving awareness for the event. Nonetheless, Skywire Live illustrated social media’s value in expanding awareness and extending the reach of the event, bringing a new audience to the network.

As seen with Skywire Live, social can be a valuable platform to create awareness and drive tune-in. The live nature of the event made real-time tune-in an essential part of the experience. Social media proved impactful as it was able to foster and amplify the unique “in the moment” desire for collective engagement seen with live events – ultimately bringing more viewers to the TV screen

For Shark Week, social media served as an additional opportunity for viewers to connect to the content, while it also served as a place for the most passionate fans to interact with other like-minded viewers. In doing so, social engagement was able to contribute to success in by enhancing viewer engagement as well as encouraging invested viewers to return night after night.

For networks and advertisers looking to leverage the power of social media, it is important to understand not only which types of content lend themselves most to a social dialogue, but also the ever evolving ways in which social connections can be facilitated to maximize success. While not all programming has the pop culture status of Shark Week or the on-the-edge-of-your-seat factor of Skywire Live, there are takeaways that span genres. Depending on program appeal and other factors, social media can enrich satisfaction for core/loyal viewers or attract new audiences to sample content as part of a communal viewing experience.

This Week in Discovery Buzz…

August 10, 2013 | by akowalczyk

Discovery Buzz LogoAs Discovery’s most exciting week of the year comes to a close, we’re all still soaking up the shark love and looking back at a big week of record-breaking programming! Shark Week wasn’t the only big event in our big family though. This week, we also welcomed new Animal Planet L!VE stars (hint: they’re adorable and orange!), announced a highly anticipated interview on OWN, and began saying farewell to some of our favorite fashionistas. We’ve included a few highlights from across the web below, followed by video that combines two of our favorite things — cats and sharks!

Discovery Spreads ‘Shark Week’ Spirit at the Jersey Shore

August 8, 2013 | by akowalczyk

Shark Week at the Jersey ShoreTacos, Shark Week and community goodwill – does life get much better?

This past week, Discovery’s events team blanketed the Jersey Shore with Shark Week spirit, sharing tacos and Shark Week swag with beach communities.

Teaming up with The Taco Truck, Discovery started its journey on Atlantic City’s infamous boardwalk, where they treated fans to Shark Week trivia, “Shark Bite” tacos, and lots of Shark Week fun, including t-shirts, fin hats, stickers, tattoos and more. From Atlantic City, Discovery and their Taco Truck friends traveled to Long Branch, NJ, and then onto Union Beach – in just three days, the team gave out over 4,000 tacos!

On Monday and Tuesday, the team also stopped in towns hit hard by Superstorm Sandy – Little Ferry, Seabright and Highlands – to visit with Habitat for Humanity volunteers, providing a full lunch and some Shark Week fun.

Check out the Shark Week fun in the photos below, and we’ll catch you tonight on Shark Week!


The Taco Truck at the Jersey Shore for Shark Week

Tacos at the Jersey Shore for Shark Week

Shark Week at the Jersey Shore



#ChompieAttack Baits DC with ‘Shark Week’ Spirit

August 2, 2013 | by akowalczyk

Duh duh…duh duh…it’s a #ChompieAttack! This week, Chompie Jr. and California Tortilla joined forces to spread Shark Week spirit throughout the DC area in anticipation for Shark Week, premiering Sunday at 9pm ET/PT on Discovery. Shark Week fans showed their Shark Week love on Twitter, Facebook and this blog, and we chose five jawsome winners for a surprise #ChompieAttack and burrito lunch from Cal Tort.

On Monday, Chompie Jr. set out for a jaunt in the big city, to “attack” the creative team at Fleishmann-Hillard. He shared some burritos, did some work and taught the team the #SharkDance.

Chompie Jr at Fleishmann-Hillard

Chompie Jr. Working at Fleishmann-Hillard

Chompie Jr. and entire Creative Team


More comfortable with the big city,  Chompie Jr. ventured back downtown on Tuesday to Share Our Strength, where he helped to end the employees’ hunger, while they worked to end childhood hunger.

Chompie Jr at Share Our Strength

Chompie Jr at Share Our Strength

Hoping to steal the secrets to making a California Tortilla fish taco, Chompie Jr. spent some time at the counter on Wednesday, before heading to Marriott’s headquarters in Bethesda, where he was welcomed with open arms.

Chompie Jr. at California Tortilla

Chompie Jr. at Marriott Headquarters

Chompie Jr with Security at Marriott Headquarters

Bored of city life, Chompie Jr. took a trip further out on Thursday, with a visit to Sonic Promos in Gaithersburg, Maryand – they greeted him with their own shark..and a few pups!

Chompie Jr at Sonic Promos

Chompie Jr. and dog at Sonic Promos

Ending the week with a bang, Chompie Jr. visited the DC Traffic Center for NewsChannel 8 in Silver Spring today, getting his first taste of on-air glory and enjoying shark shenanigans with all the stations’ stars.

Chompie Jr and Jamie Sullivan at DC Traffic Center

Chompie Jr. and Jamie Sullivan at DC Traffic Center

Chompie Jr. and DC Traffic Center

Back in the office, we’re still basking in Shark Week glory and excited for Sunday night’s kickoff at 9pm ET/PT! To see all the photos from Chompie Jr.’s journeys this week, check out Discovery Communications’ Facebook album and Instagram or #ChompieAttack on Twitter! Happy (almost) Shark Week!

‘Shark Week’ Fun Chums the Waters Online

July 31, 2013 | by kdelmonico
Serious Shark Week Fan

Serious Shark Week Fan

Despite the sweltering D.C. heat trying to tell me otherwise, I always know that it’s not truly summer until my favorite holiday is upon us — Shark Week! It’s hard to believe that this Sunday will be my third Shark Week since I have been working at Discovery. It seems like just yesterday I was meeting Chompie Jr. for the first time and enjoying all the toothy Shark Week fun around the office (see photo)…memories!

With all the fun to be had during Shark Week, we are spreading the love online, this time with even more ways to enjoy the most jawsome week of the year. This year, we’re celebrating fans with the return of our live, on-air Twitter Frenzy. After an unprecedented 10 hours of Twitter-infused programming featuring live fan Tweets in 2012, we are doubling the #SharkWeek love, featuring fans’ fin-tastic Tweets in real time on TV from 8pm to 12am ET for five nights beginning on Sunday, August 4.

Other ways to enjoy this fin-tastic celebration online include:

  • Shark Cam: Swim with the sharks from the safety of your own cubicle and check out the National Aquarium’s new Blacktip Reef exhibit in Baltimore. Fin fans can get 24-7 access to the underwater world of dozens of sharks and one 500+ pound sea turtle, Calypso. Available at, Aquarium experts will host informative online chats during Shark Week.
  • Shark Week Plus:  Want more sharks? Download the Discovery Channel HD App for iPad and add the Shark Week Plus simultaenous viewing app for audio-synched extras, featuring behind-the-scenes factoids, photos, quizzes, social conversation and more.
  • Great White TriangleFollow underwater cameraman Andy Casagrande in this special webisode as he tests out the Pelagic Explorer, a state-of-the-art mobile shark cage that allows divers to swim safely among great whites and learn more about the often misunderstood creatures.
  • Subaquatic Road Trip: In addition to diving into Shark Cam, viewers can take a virtual dive with a 360-degree view of Luke Tipple’s underwater journey in the all-new VW Beetle Shark Cage.
  • Shark Finder: Want to know where your finned friends are? Discovery’s worldwide interactive map at allows visitors to track 20 sharks across three different species in real time and learn more about their life in the big blue.

Happy Shark Week!

Discovery and Revision3 Bring Bite to VidCon

July 31, 2013 | by aharris

VIdConWith Shark Week just around the corner, Discovery Communications and Revision3 are bringing some of your favorite personalities and a bit of toothy fun to this year’s VidCon in Anaheim, CA.  The annual conference, now in its fourth year, attracts the world’s top online video creators, and many of them will come face to face with Shark Week’s mechanical megalodon, Sharkzilla, which will be chomping items in his gigantic jaws every half-hour on the hour in the Expo Hall on August 2 and 3. If you’re at VidCon, you won’t want to miss it; and, if not, make sure to follow @Revision3 on Twitter for regular updates (and chomps).

Additionally, Revision3 talent Tory Belleci, Phil DeFranco, The Fine Brothers, Richard Ryan, Ty Moss, Veronica Belmont, Scott Bromley, and Annie Gaus will be meeting up with fans and Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback will deliver the keynote address on August 2.

VidCon is expected to draw more than 12,000 attendees this year, doubling last year’s audience. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the #VidCon hashtag!