Shark Week Engages Viewers with More Social to Chomp On

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. People are throwing parties, cats are dressing up, and fans are putting a lot of time into preparations. It’s not the holiday season...Dun un...but food is still on the menu...dun un dun un...It’s a weeklong celebration...dun un dun un dunna...and it’s hitting your screen with more intensity than ever before! Get ready to sink your teeth in folks, it’s Shark Week!

Every year we anxiously await the seven day celebration of the ocean’s biggest predator. For 27 years, Shark Week has taken over our television screens with hours of hair-raising, jawesome programming. More footage means more chatter and this year Shark Week will include more second screen activations for fans to sink their teeth into. For the second year in a row, Spredfast is partnering with Discovery Communications to once again make Shark Week the network’s most social programming event ever. 

Content to Chomp on 

Shark Week isn’t a show—it’s an experience. Even those who are too afraid to actually watch Shark Week can’t escape its mammoth reach. Discovery Communications wanted to magnify the event’s phenomenon-status by layering the TV broadcast with social elements for fans. 

Last year, the network saw more than 10 million Facebook interactions over the course of Shark Week and this year they’re anticipating even more user-generated responses as they’ll be airing a record-breaking 26 hours of programming. To encourage viewer interactions, every night Discovery Communications will integrate live on-air Facebook posts from fans with a sharkingly large amount of other content. Real-time Hashtag Polling and Trending Topics will also appear on screen with live Instagram posts from dedicated fans.
 

Shark Week Dunkin Donuts Bite Gallery
 

This year, Shark Week will include show-specific social integrations to further personalize the event. The frenzy kicked off with the Fin Fest weekend premiere - a massive beach party including bands and a 60-foot mechanical shark who chomped on different items depending on what object received the most votes in an online hashtag battle. The battle pulled in votes directly from Facebook users wanting to see Sharkzilla eat different objects at the event. 
 

Discovery Shark Week Fin Fest
 

Shark Week is also featuring a #KingOfSummer social hub dedicated to showing fans all of the photos and conversations related to their favorite beast. The page includes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram content that’s generated solely by Shark Week fans. Visitors can see how people are celebrating or become the #KingOfSummer by uploading a picture to be featured on the site.
 

Discovery Shark Week #KindgofSummer
 

Discovery Communications will also be bringing back a fan favorite, Shark After Dark, featuring social media correspondent Taryn Southern. The late night show brings in shark experts, celebrity guests, and shark attack survivors to share their stories while fans guide the conversation through Facebook polls and trends. The hour-long program relies on viewers to shape the conversation and ask questions to the guests. From this content, producers a) see what their audience is most interested in and b) gain real-time insight into viewer engagement trends. Maybe audiences are most interested in hearing from the experts, or perhaps they can’t type their questions fast enough for Chelsea Handler

A Jawesome Week Ahead

By incorporating social, Shark Week has evolved from seven days of television programming to an immersive experience. Shark Week has established a loyal following over the years and now those members are developing into participants. No, they’re not shark bait - but they are becoming an active part of the week’s programming by contributing their thoughts, reactions, and enthusiasm. Fin Fest, King of Summer, and Shark After Dark are all consumer-centric activations that add up to increased engagement and advocacy. These social integrations are moving Shark Week into new waters and fans are diving in without hesitation. 

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Samantha Subar

@SamanthaSubar
Samantha is a PR Manager at Spredfast where she showcases the customers and thought leaders behind the world's best social software platform. Texas born and raised, Samantha is also a Longhorn lover, wilderness explorer, and cupcake connoisseur. Follow her for the latest on Spredfast and, of course, food.