Limited Returns on Shark Week

Apparently, Shark Week did not help the stock price of Discovery Channel’s parent company (Discovery Communications, DISCA), according to this article from CNN Money.

Despite that success, investors aren’t biting. Shares of Discovery Communications(DISCA), which owns the Discovery Channel and networks like Animal Planet, have flatlined this week.- Matt Egan at CNN Money

This might sound like good news for those of us who find that Shark Week has increasingly become a week of inaccurate, fear mongering programs. Many shark scientists and conservationists have taken every opportunity available to register their problems with the program contents.

Unfortunately, a slight drop in share prices seems to be a regular feature of Shark Week.

It’s a typical pattern. Shark Week doesn’t usually fuel a feeding frenzy among investors. Discovery’s stock retreated during Shark Week in three of the last four years. – Matt Egan at CNN Money

As a result, this is unlikely to signal, or be interpreted by Discovery Communications, that critiques from scientists and conservationists are impacting the bottom line. Shark Week still pulls in lots of viewers (3.6 million on Sunday – even I watched Alien Sharks*) and lots of traffic on social media – though that includes all the scientific critiques too.

While that may seem pessimistic, the idea of focusing on share prices does identify a true leverage point for these companies. The apparent effects of the documentary “Blackfish” on Sea World have been dramatic. Having identified an excellent metric to influence Discovery Communication’s behavior, how do we best affect it in a way that is directly connected to the pseudoscientific programming pumped out onto its channels?

HT: Upwell

*While I agree that Alien Sharks was much better than most of the other programs I heard about, I was still pretty unimpressed. There was far too much focus on how “creepy” or “scary” the sharks were, rather than actual information. In addition, they set up a “Holy Grail” shark for the entire episode that never paid off except with some cheap looking CGI.

Author: Josh Witten

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