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Team Ocean surfs Shark Week to a 93% increase

Matt Fitzgerald's picture
on September 4, 2014 - 6:46pm

Ocean advocates and champions of science won Shark Week this year.

But oh, how the mighty have fallen.... As we explained in an earlier post, Discovery's Shark Week took a massive dive this year, losing nearly half its online conversational volume. This is a big deal for the 27 year-old television and new media empire - the kind that gives rise to groan-inducing headlines about Shark Week (and Discovery) jumping the shark.

Those who don't know their shark-jumping history are doomed to ill-fated waterski trips.

We here at Upwell pay close attention to Shark Week because it's the Internet's Super Bowl of sharks - or for that matter, anything ocean-related. Each year, across the web, viewers (and bandwagon hoppers) take to social media to share their reactions to the shows and, well, to sharks. Thankfully, most of those people are shark fans.

Because we f@$%in' love sharks, and recognize the danger they're in, for the past three years Upwell has brought the shark conservation community together through our Sharkinars (seriously!) to share tips and make plans to take advantage of the Megalodon-size opportunity that Shark Week presents for bringing new supporters to the cause. (Note: Megalodon, while real, is also extinct, and has been for millions of years).

This year Shark Week followed up its fake 2013 documentary on Megalodon with not one, but two fake documentaries. And on top of that, a host of shows that misrepresented the work of scientists, shared incorrect facts, and inspired fear where fear wasn't due. 

Thankfully, Team Ocean stood up and called out Discovery for abandoning their mission to air nonfiction content, and tarnishing the Shark Week legacy that inspired so many young shark scientists and fans. (And, admittedly, probably a lot of dorm-room stoners.)

Shark Week lost 9 million viewers in the process. Nine million. Let that sink in.

This hasn't been a good year for Shark Week but it's been a fantastic one for the shark lovers of Team Ocean. We're here to say thank you.

Even as total Shark Week online conversation took a big hit, shark science and conservation content from Team Ocean experienced a surge of growth. 

Percent change in online mentions for Upwell's "Shark Week 2014" and "Shark Week: Team Ocean" keyword groups from 2013 levels.

Notice anything? Shark Week lost steam while shark-saving conversation ("Team Ocean") almost doubled. Go team!

Taking a closer look at our collective success reveals a historical trend. This is no flash in the pan.

Top: Online mentions for Team Ocean during Shark Week 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Bottom: Year-over-year % Increase in online mentions for Team Ocean during Shark Week, 2012-2014.

What the data reveals is that Team Ocean is growing fast. While that growth may be slowing, that may be due to network saturation. Essentially, more of the team is already in the game. 

Furthermore, even among the huge volume of Shark Week posts, the Team Ocean piece of that pie is getting bigger.

Team Ocean mentions as a percentage of total Shark Week mentions, 2013 vs 2014.

Got that? More pie!

We need more people that care about science and sharks to stand together and continue this momentum in the coming year.
Sharks are cool enough to have their own week, so let's make sure it's as awesome as they are.

Go team!


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