I’ll just come right out and say it… I have a primordial fear of sharks that (probably) borders on the irrational. And it would be easy to spot me when I’m brave enough to catch a few, slow Atlantic rollers off Montauk beach on the far eastern end of Long Island: I’m the one constantly looking around for a tell-tale dark shadow or – worse – a dorsal fin that breaks the water.
And I suspect Discovery Channel has been banking on people just like me for years to tune into their iconic franchise – “Shark Week” – that is now in its 29th edition (beginning June 26th) and shows no signs of slowing down, pulling down solid ratings and shares over the past three years:
Shark Week Demographics
“Shark Week” captures an upscale audience with ratings that peak at the Household Income break of $125,000 - $149,999 (2.22 vs the U.S. National average of 1.83.) And, although the ratings decline somewhat after $150,000, they are all above the national average – even for the highest break that Rentrak measures (i.e., $250,000+), which accrues a 2.00 rating (109 Index):
Of some note is the apparent contradiction in “Shark Week’s” demographics between household income and education. It is generally understood that there’s a strong positive relationship between the two, but not necessarily so with “Shark Week” as can be seen in the chart below. Despite the fact that “Shark Week” is upscale, the show also accrues an above average index level (113.4) for homes with a High School Education. Clearly, there’s a segment of “Shark Week’s” audience that is relatively upscale without the benefit of a 4-year college degree:
Local Cable Advertising Demand
There are a select few iconic cable events that elicit such broad and deep support amongst our local cable clients – and “Shark Week” is certainly one of them. Over the past two years (2014 & 2015), over 850 advertisers across 67 Viamedia markets ordered over 27,000 30-second spots. That comes to an average of 16 spots per advertiser (per year) that appeared on the “Shark Week” series.
(Source: B.I.G.SM database -- Copyright © 2016 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
In terms of local cable advertising categories, Automotive captures the largest share (at 28%) which happens to be a few share points lower than what we normally see for this category company-wide (across all programming.) The second largest category (Entertainment & Travel at 14%) may only represent half the share level of Automotive, but is indeed more than double what we normally see for this category company-wide. The same can be said for the Tune-In category (TV & Radio) which also captures a 14% share of advertising investments -- that’s over 3-times what we see company-wide, which is not so surprising as competing cable networks seek to reach viewers who have flocked to such a high profile programming event:
“Be Careful What You Fish For”
Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is not just a week-long string of programs united by a common theme. It is, in fact, the longest-running programming event in the history of cable… and a highly anticipated one at that. Somehow summer just wouldn’t be the same without this series, and since 1987 “Shark Week” has fascinated millions and millions of viewers not just in the United States, but around the world! This year’s 29th edition premieres on Sunday, June 26th with a triple-header (“Tiger Beach”, “The Return of Monster Mako” and “Isle of Jaws), and will take audiences right up to the 4th of July Weekend. And, so, as you stroll along the beach this summer; take a dip in the ocean; or simply cast a line into the water… always remember Discovery Channel’s cautionary advice:
“Be careful what you fish for.”