Shark Week has come and gone again, while Discovery Channel successfully continued to bring interested crowds deep into the world of shark conservation; by using a strategy that was ignored for so many years. Sharks can sometimes be scary animals that attract a lot of attention, from the great white’s large size and the misguided fear placed from Hollywood block busters; including one that just came out this year. It offers a chance to give the public a reason to care about shark conservation while still being able to have fun with the audience. That is the most important part that Shark Week commendably does right; having a level of self-awareness and fun with the public image of sharks. So self-aware that interestingly enough, Shark Week has actually taken a study by a team of researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, that had said that ominous and creepy music in shark documentaries actually dispel fear while different choices of music had the opposite effect. Shark week has taken a lot into consideration this year and it constantly refines its programming while never looking down on the audience.
They also constantly interact with curious and interested people on twitter, answering all of their questions, while keeping the conversations light and encouraging. They seem to have accepted the public image that sharks receive and tend to go along with it in a light hearted way. In a recent episode, Olympic Gold Medal winner Michael Phelps raced a Great White. While I’m sure we all know who won, this grabs a wide audience, giving them the opportunity to change it by creating a community and culture around loving such ferocious yet important fish. Shark week also never forgets to also tell interesting stories, such as reported incidents of Orcas ganging up and taking down sharks. I knew this kind of behaviour existed, but to be able to learn and hear from professionals about how it was done was intriguing. It also enables people to envision another animal besides ourselves that attack and kill sharks. Discovery Channel continues to transform our fear into admiration with dashes of well-placed humour and understanding while still capturing awe-inspiring shots of some deadly goliaths that lurk beneath.