Post Type:post Viamedia Leverages Programming Legend to Help Local Advertisers Reach Huge Audiences | Viamedia


Somehow summer just wouldn’t be the same without the longest-running cable television event ever – the week long, legendary series from the Discovery Channel, “Shark Week”. Since 1987, “Shark Week” has fascinated millions and millions of viewers not just in the United States, but around the world! And, on a personal note, ever since this series first aired (along with the movie, “Jaws”), I don’t boogie-board off Long Island without first taking a very sharp look around!

In reviewing past Rentrak data, the 2013 rendition of “Shark Week” chewed off its highest ratings by far, so we were wondering how this fan favorite would perform swimming with such momentum into its August 10th 2014 premiere. As the Discovery Channel would say, “Be careful what you fish for.” Based on their August 19th press release, Discovery earned its highest-rated Shark Week ever in its 27-year history across several key negotiated demographics, such as Persons 25-54 and Women 18-49. Indeed, Shark Week’s performance was so strong that it completely devoured every other broadcast and cable network in terms of delivering Men 18-34 and Men 18-49!

Strong national ratings have a profound impact on Viamedia’s local cable clients, allowing them to monetize strong viewership by way of increased store traffic and incremental sales at the cash register. Maybe they even had a sixth sense about this year’s Shark Week, having upped their investment on the Discovery Channel by more than 12% (versus 2013) across dozens of Shark Week titles. In all, 65 (out of 71) Viamedia Markets aired commercials on Shark Week in 2014 – up from 58 the prior year. And if we isolate the 51 markets advertising in both years, 75% of them upped their investment in Shark Week:

Source: Viamedia internal analysis of Shark Week client data for 2013 and 2014.

In terms of individual Viamedia markets, Tampa was far and away #1, capturing 15% of all 2014 Shark Week advertising dollars. Perhaps that has something to do with Tampa’s location on the Gulf of Mexico, where you just might run into a shark or two. But I’m not sure that explains several other large revenue markets, unless we’re to believe sharks can be found swimming up the Delaware and Hudson Rivers, not to mention Lake Erie and Lake Michigan! And as for Evansville, Indiana… well, maybe not:

Source: Viamedia internal analysis of Shark Week client data for 2013 and 2014.

If we look within Viamedia markets, down to all of the unique sales zones we represent, there were 147 different zones that exhibited advertising on Shark Week in 2014 – up from 137 zones in 2013. And, in a very telling statistic, within the 103 Viamedia sales zones that had advertising in both years, we experienced a 34% jump in local cable ad revenues.

From an advertising category perspective, Automotive captured about one-third of all advertising over the past two seasons of Shark Week followed by Political, Entertainment & Travel, PI / Direct Response, Financial Services and Attorneys / Professional Services. Collectively, these top 6 categories represent two-thirds of all ad dollars.

The 27th installment of Discovery’s Shark Week is now in the books, and it was a record breaker! And I, for one, can’t wait for #28 next summer. This is not only cable’s longest running week-long event – it’s a body of work that delivers a highly engaged audience captivated by some of the most thrilling content in all of television! That alone practically guarantees advertisers – both nationally and locally – a receptive audience from one summer to the next.

– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia