Discovery’s ‘Shark Week’ Sets Ratings Record Among Women, Tops All of TV in Young Men

Shark Week Ratings

Discovery’s Shark Week has made its biggest ratings splash yet in several key ratings categories, including a first-place finish among all networks — broadcast and cable — in men under 50.

The 27th edition of Shark Week (Aug. 10-16) became the most-watched ever for the event in women 18-49 (639,000), women 25-54 (621,000) and adults 25-54 (1.4 million), according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates. The women 18-49 total is also the highest ever for any week in Discovery history.

During the seven-day stretch, Discovery had six of the top 10 ad-supported cable originals among adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and men 25-54 and eight of the top 10 among men 18-49.

For the week of Aug. 11-17 (which included the final six nights of the event), Discovery was the No. 1 primetime cable network in adults 18-49 (1.17 million), adults 25-54 (also 1.17 million) and adults 18-34 (540,000). And in men 18-49, its 636,000 made it the No. 1 network on all of television.

Overall, a cume audience of more than 42 million tuned into the network during Shark Week — third best all-time for the event, behind only 2010 and 2013. The average audience during any minute was 2.48 million, according to Nielsen.

The biggest draw during Shark Week was the opening night movie “Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine,” which averaged 3.83 million viewers, including 2.38 million adults 18-49. It ranks as the No. 1 non-sports cable telecast of the third quarter in men 18-49 and 25-54.

Also scoring big were Monday’s hourlongs “Monster Hammerhead” (3.45 million; 1.93 million adults 18-49) and “Jaws Strike Back” (3.41 million, including 2 million adults 18-49) and Tuesday’s “Alien Sharks: Return of the Abyss” (3.11 million; 1.82 million adults 18-49) and “Lair of the Mega Shark” (2.78 million; 1.64 million adults 18-49).

The return of Shark Week’s latenight talkshow, “Shark After Dark,” was up 3% from last year and outrated cable competitors including Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” TBS’ “Conan” and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”

Shark Week stood as Discovery Channel’s most social programming event to date. On Facebook, 13 million people had more than 21 million interactions around Shark Week content, a 110% increase from last year’s event. Ten premiere telecasts during Shark Week ranked in the Daily Top 5 on Nielsen’s SocialGuide throughout the week and generated 70 primetime Trending Topics on Twitter over 7 days.

On, video streams were up 16% vs. 2013, while page views saw a 76% increase, marking the strongest year ever online.


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  1. Shark Girl says:

    I wondered this year if I should be watching it as a female since most of the commercials included slutty woman.

  2. Dave Ventura says:

    Deconstructing Shark Week – What You Need To Know

    Mike Sorensen is the defacto executive producer for Shark Week. He’s a smart guy. He figured out a while back that if you actively troll your loyal audience with really poor shark content they will react. In the world of TV programming ANY reaction on social media, mainstream media, good or bad, is money in the bank for advertisers.

    Bad reactions are easier to get and Mike not only knows this he and his small production teams revel in it.

    Discovery came out with a press release today declaring 21 million Facebook interactions this year, no mention that 80% were negative. Mike and his team do not care, they care about advertisers. And advertisers care about the numbers. It’s sounds counter intuitive, but this is how it works in the industry.


    To enable this questionable content Mike has enlisted the help of just two men, producer Jeff Kurr, and cameraman Andy Brandy Casagrande 4. Both men are responsible for most of the really ugly content on Shark Week. Both are seasoned veterans at getting top ocean predators to attack cages, smash into boats, attack simulated divers and live divers, and get wild animals to behave in a manner that looks terrifying.

    They are The Masters of Shark Terror.

    These guys also know that they can get away with this. It’s a cold calculus. If they were doing “Bear Week” rules and regulations would prohibit 99.9% of the insanity they heap on wild animals at sea.

    As the writer of this article mentions it also harms the sharks. These two guys have made an entire career demonizing sharks.

    Mike Sorensen knows that next year with more ugly shark content and a willing and complicit production team he can get Facebook, Twitter, and the mainstream media to scream bloody murder. He can drive the loyal fan base to distraction all while claiming that advertisers have the best audience participation ever.

    It is the most bizarre strategy ever conducted, and it works all the way to the bank.

    Industry Change?

    For the short term there can be no industry change until places like SA, Isa Guadalupe, and Stewart island decide to protect their sharks from film crews hell bent on the kind of ratings inducing and violent shark interactions from the shark teams Mike Sorensen deploys across the planet like a production plague.

    Jeff Kurr and Andy Brandy Casagrande 4 should be taken to task publicly.

    It is a crying shame to watch sharks mistreated for ratings. It is also a BIG PRODUCTION LIE. They get sharks to attack by baiting them, they also lie to audiences by suggesting this is natural. They know better, but in their world a smashed shark translates into a production credit on IMBD and that translates in to $$$ and more work with Mike Sorensen’s team.

    Change needs to happen as Shark Weeks treatment of wild animals is appalling and current crop of Shark Week “stories” are B-List at best. At worst they are whole cloth lies wrapped in damaged animals.

    Now you know who’s behind Shark Week and why they do what they do.

    For the sake of money, advertisers, and fame, sharks around the world have been maligned, mistreated, and demonized to get a loyal fan base to boost media numbers.

    It is surprising to realize that the entire Shark Week franchise is, at the end of the day, just a small inside team. As long as they continue to pull the levers of production, you can expect more of the same in 2015 and beyond.

    • Eric says:

      The really disheartening thing is that, even if everyone of those 80% knew and agreed with what you say, most of them will take the clickbait anyway. either the bulk of the audience is aware of the game being played and don’t give a damn, or they just can’t help themselves.

      • Allie says:

        I think the really disheartening thing is that what Discovery Channel has done is endemic of media and marketing. They feed people lies and people take the bait hook, line and sinker. Nobody provides facts. Facts are boring. People aren’t interested in facts unless they can be manipulated to fit their world view. They want stories and sensationalism. Click bait and rage bait in particular generate the most ad revenue. If you can pit two disparate groups against each other in a comments war to exponentially increase ad revenue and word of mouth/share publicity, even better! It’s what helped transform a former joke of a news network into the #1 network. :(

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