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Posts Tagged ‘Discovery Channel’

Viewers Who Tuned in to Eaten Alive Disappointed To Find No One Got Eaten Alive

rosolieThere was no truth in advertising on this one. We’ve been hearing about the Discovery Channel’s Eaten Alive special for months now. And Paul Rosolie, the daring environmental activist who had volunteered to be eaten alive by a giant snake to save the planet was fueling the fires for this one.

“People care about animals; they don’t make the jump to caring about the habitat the animals live in… So I wanted to do something that would force a dialogue about what’s going on here – and it’s working,” he said in an interview we wrote about barely two weeks ago.

In that interview, he said he was still recovering from the experience. So you’d be reasonable in thinking, “Dang. That man got eaten by a giant snake and it was unsurprisingly traumatic. I must see this amazing thing that has happened.”

Well, after nearly two hours of watching blah blah blah last night, Rosolie was not in fact eaten by a snake. The snake hurt his arm and then he called for help.

Also last night, my neighbor’s giant cat scratched me while clawing at my sock. It was just as thrilling as this hot eco-mess.

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Man Tries To Save the Environment by Being Eaten By a Snake

rosolieIf you’ve seen any commercials on the Discovery Channel lately, you’ve seen the one where a group of people carry a ginormous snake while a man in a Hazmat-looking suit talks about how he’s going to let that snake eat him.

That snake is an anaconda and the man is environmentalist Paul Rosolie. He told Entertainment Weekly (sub req’d) that he’s doing the stunt to raise awareness about environmental degradation.

“People care about animals; they don’t make the jump to caring about the habitat the animals live in… So I wanted to do something that would force a dialogue about what’s going on here – and it’s working,” he told the magazine.

The man has got a point. But when I first saw the ad, I’m thinking, “This can’t be good for the snake.” (Please note: I know nothing about snakes except that they enjoy vacationing on New York City toilets.)

But a lot of others also had that same thought.

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Roll Call: Discovery Channel, Gawker Media and Spiceworks

Discovery Channel announced that Paul Schur has been named vice president of Communications for Discovery Channel. Schur was previously senior director of Publicity for the channel, where he created and executed strategies to raise awareness and visibility of programming. Schur has more than a decade of previous media relations and public relations experience, mostly in television news, where he served as a spokesperson and director of Media Relations for Fox News, where his responsibilities from the Washington, D.C., bureau included overseeing press efforts for the FOX broadcast network’s Sunday morning public affairs program, FOX News Sunday. (Release)

Michael Kuntz has been named vice president of sales at Gawker Media. Kuntz is leaving Hearst Magazines, where he served as publisher and chief revenue officer of Popular Mechanics for just over a year. The time with Popular Mechanics was Kuntz’s second stint with Hearst, as he head worked there from 2006 to 2009, serving as a director of sales for SmartMoney. (FishbowlNY)

Spiceworks announced Sanjay Castelino has joined the company as its new vice president of Marketing. In his role, Castelino will oversee Spiceworks’ marketing efforts across its demand generation, product marketing, branding, public and analyst relations, and creative services functions. Castelino was previously a vice president at SolarWinds where he led demand generation, go-to-market strategy, and execution for the company’s Networking, Virtualization, Storage, and Security Information and Event Management divisions. During his tenure at SolarWinds, he was instrumental in helping the company build and refine it’s go-to-market strategies and positioning following its initial public offering (IPO) in May 2009. Previously, Castelino worked at NetStreams, Motive, A.T. Kearney and Accenture. (Release)

Something Smells Fishy at ‘Shark Week’

The latest chapter in Discovery Channel‘s scaly salt-water empire Shark Week, breaking ratings records with a mixture of legitimate science and horror since 1987, raised some eyebrows back on land.

Seems that the “documentary” Megaladon: The Monster Shark That Lives played fast and loose with the facts while producers hoped no one would notice.

In case you were never a 12-year-old boy, the megaladon was a prehistoric creature with teeth the size of a human hand which, as you may surmise from the special’s title, may still be alive and terrorizing the world’s oceans today.

Fans of accuracy in media will be disappointed to know that this is not even remotely true. The big deal, really, is Discovery’s failure to include a “none of this is real, BTW” disclaimer beyond a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it notice aired during the last minutes of the show calling it a “film” based on “legend.” Quite a few people fell for this nonsense, too: if you believe the channel’s super official megaladon poll, only 21% of viewers think the shark is definitely extinct. (We wonder how they feel about Bat Boy.)

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Ask NASA About the End of the World This Afternoon

2012Even if you do happen to be one of those fortunate few who live under a large rock, we have no doubt that you’ve still heard some of the eschatological nonsense about The Mayans and December 21, 2012, aka “122112″: the cosmic forces of good and evil will throw down, the brown dwarf planet Nibiru will destroy the Earth, Menudo will get back together, etc.

It’s all funny in a sad sort of way–and we have no doubt that it’s already inspired a few low-budget Discovery Channel documentaries. But the highfalutin “scientists” at NASA take all things related to The End of the World very seriously–and they want you all to know that it will be OK.

(Of course they would say that…)

Anyway, NASA clearly believes that it has a responsibility to inform the impressionable public and avoid the risk of wide-scale Doomsday freakouts, so two weeks ago the organization launched a modest PR campaign designed to debunk all the sourceless rumors and keep the holiday shopping season moving along as planned in accordance with the wishes of our faceless corporate overlords.

Cash-strapped NASA doesn’t have the time or money to produce anything like a fancy TV ad (we kid, we kid), but the sci-fi nerds who obviously run the organization did find the time to create a couple of web pages addressing the most frequently asked 2012 questions and allowing a supposed “astrobiologist” to write a bunch of TL;DR answers on the very same topics.

That’s not all, though: things are about to get real at 2 PM today.

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Party Affiliation Affects Brand Preference (Ugh)

Today in Almost Certainly Meaningless News: Many Americans consider their political affiliations to be a private matter and prefer not to discuss related issues at family gatherings in order to avoid fistfights; most would almost certainly insist that party affiliation has nothing to do with the products they buy.

But a recent survey by the respectable YouGov Brand Index indicates that political leanings and brand preference are at least somehow related:

The top ten most favored brands for:

Democrats Republicans Independents
Google Fox News Amazon
Amazon History Channel Craftsman
Cheerios Craftsman History Channel
Clorox Chick-fil-A Discovery Channel
Craftsman Johnson & Johnson Google
Dawn Lowe’s Clorox
M&M’s Cheerios Lowe’s
Levi’s Clorox Johnson & Johnson
PBS FOX Cheerios
Sony Discovery Channel M&M’s

Some of these “revelations” are so obvious as to be annoying: Lots of registered Republicans watch Fox News, and lots of registered Democrats listen to NPR. Next you’ll tell us that most registered Republicans prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama!

Most of the list is just confusing.

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Shark Week Takes a Big Bite out of Social TV

According to AdAge, Discovery Channel execs first conceived of their big-name summer staple “Shark Week” during a hotel room brainstorming session way back in 1987, when cable was still new and the channel itself was only two years old. Desperate to attract viewers, they noticed that shark-related programming always precipitated a ratings jump. In a moment of inspiration, former executive Steve Cheskin reportedly blurted out “shark week”, leading founder John Hendricks to respond with a smile and a eureka-like “that’s it!”

Now, a quarter of a century and a generation of shark enthusiasts later, “Shark Week” is cable’s longest-running promotion; it has consistently attracted more than 20 million viewers since 2003. Even more impressive is AdAge‘s report 35% of all cable social-TV activity recorded during “Shark Week” this year was directly related to “Shark Week” programs. This trend may have something to do with the fact that the programming attracts fairly young, tech-savvy viewers: Scott Felenstein, senior VP-ad sales at Discovery Channel, told AdAge that the average “Shark Week” viewer is 31 years old, roughly 8 years younger than Discovery’s usual audience, making it a hot topic on social media and a potential goldmine for advertisers.

“For Discovery, it’s the Super Bowl,” said Felenstein.

Check out the Trendrr graphic below for a fabulously colorful and shark-infested depiction of this year’s “Shark Week” cable social-TV activity: Read more

VW Beetle, Meet Great White Shark

The Discovery Channel and Volkswagen got creative this year to promote the 25th anniversary of the ever-popular “Shark Week“: They enlisted engineers to create a framework model of the famous VW Beetle that doubles as a shark cage, allowing divers to literally drive along the ocean floor and check out the great white action above (while keeping an eye out for those pesky bottomless crevasses).

This unique meeting of a classic car and America’s favorite saltwater predator has been in the works for a while, with Discovery gradually releasing a series of teaser shorts. But the first official video is worth a glance:

Looks like another win for Deutsch LA, an agency that can seemingly do no wrong.

Article About Swag Shows that Swag Kind of Works

We here at Mediabistro opened The New York Times today and saw something very familiar — a fire engine red stiletto pump. One that is exactly the same as the two at left, currently resting on the desk of our TVNewser/TVSpy blogger Merrill Knox. The one on the left is a size 9 and on the right, a size 7. But the fact that we have two gives us the one up on The NYT.

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