Animal Planet brags about how much of a sell out they are

2013 was the former science-based channel’s best year ever. At what cost? All integrity. But that doesn’t seem to matter.

Animal Planet Wins its Best Year Ever – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers.


– Network Boasts Most Successful Year in Prime and Total Day –

– Animal Planet Ranks #16 in Cable for M25-54 –

– MERMAIDS: THE NEW EVIDENCE Drowns Out Competition, Luring 3.6 Million Viewers

Their 10 most successful programs included Mermaid: The New Evidence, River Monsters, Call of the Wildman, and Finding Bigfoot.

The follow-up to 2012’s highly popular MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND, MERMAIDS: THE NEW EVIDENCE ranked as Animal Planet’s most-watched telecast of all time, delivering 3.6M total viewers. Excluding sports, the special was the #1-rated telecast in all of ad-supported cable among P25-54 during the week of May 20, 2013.

River Monsters at least hold sway over Finding Bigfoot as Animal Planet’s most-watched series. At least that’s not a bad show. I don’t recall any fakery connected to that and they actually FIND read animals they seek, unlike Finding Bigfoot which has to have the worst title on television.

Animal Planet has capitalized on hype, speculation, manufactured drama and outright deception. Remember that Discovery Channel used to have shark week? The goal was to bring sound scientific information to the viewers to aid in the protection of threatened species. It used to be enlightening. Now, it’s Monster Week with the emphasis on mythical creatures as real. How dumb. Now, the Discovery complex lost integrity and lost support from viewers that value it. They instead have set themselves to appeal to a less-educated, lower income audience. I’d say that’s a mistake. [Note: Greater levels of education leads you to NOT believe in paranormal stuff. Look at the demographics. People with higher degrees and more disposable income are NOT those who are watching Call of the Wildman or Finding Bigfoot. These shows have low intellectual content. Science-inclined people are rather fed up with this network because it’s insulting to watch nonsense. So, Bigfoot people should not be giving me grief for this.]

Our coverage of Animal Planet/Discovery Channel this year.

Animal Planet: Surprisingly Stupid

Animal Planet: Surprisingly Stupid

Tip: Jeb Card

  17 comments for “Animal Planet brags about how much of a sell out they are

  1. January 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    “…LURING 3.6 million viewers” Apt choice of words on their part.

  2. Jason P
    January 2, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Remember, the programs are not the product a commercial TV station sells. Viewers are.

  3. Angela
    January 2, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    I’ve lost all faith in most televised programming. Quality has not counted for so long I doubt they would recognize it if presented. It’s all about ratings. I rarely watch anything anymore other than retro-TV that never lets me down, lol.

  4. Ryuthrowsstuff
    January 2, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Discovery still does Shark Week as a distinct entity. The point of it these days seems to be almost entirely shark attack stories though.

  5. fatimavh
    January 2, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Sadly, like everything else today, it doesn’t matter what you put out as long as it gets you ratings…

  6. Brian
    January 2, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    I watched ‘finding bigfoot’ on netflix. It is truly mindless tripe. And that’s exactly what i watched it for. I have watched sci fi shows that have more basis in reality AND science.

  7. Chris Howard
    January 2, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Ummm, “Sharknado” broke the interwebs, because so many people watched it. (I did. What?!?) 😉

    All I’m saying is that a lot of people watch this stuff not because they believe its true, but strictly for its entertainment value.

  8. spookyparadigm
    January 2, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Chris, the same exact movie, shown on SyFy and marketed as fiction, would not have done as well. I would have enjoyed it as such, actually, it was a fairly clever and somewhat subtle piece of science fiction. One could even have the conspiracy angle the show took. But they clearly wanted people to believe in it, to give it that frisson of “is it real?” If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have made THE ENTIRE AD campaign of found footage and hoaxed documents, websites, etc.. Further, they had a live followup with the same actors in character, in something that was indeed played as news, and with even less disclaimer than the original show. They then went even further with their Megalodon show.

    The Blair Witch Project is often held up as the gold standard here. But the character/actors in the film appeared in interviews as part of the marketing campaign, and made fun of the whole “people think I’m actually missing” phenomenon. The movie was teased online as sorta-maybe-true but by the time the main product came along, it was clearly marketed as fiction. And the TV tie-in ran on the Sci-Fi Channel when SyFy wasn’t in the reality paranormal show biz.

    This is just like the crop circles thing. As straight up art or entertainment, this would have far less power than it does by cashing in on the mystery angle. I think this is true of a number of paranormal writers and promoters who at least quasi-knowingly are passing on tall tales and embellishments, stuff that would be poor derivative fiction but for the Fortean frisson. The difference is, those books and products are pretty clearly identifiable as questionable (they get stocked in the occult section, they come from esoteric presses, if video they’ll have woo-woo music and lighting). They’re not on a tv channel that built its name on documentaries and realish reality shows about animals, that’s part of a network that once had a reputation for documentaries, and even has had some credibility amongst science enthusiasts due to Mythbusters.

    So I’m not sure as many people watch for entertainment as we might think. I also doubt that many people watched Sharknado. Like Snakes on a Plane and Sharktopus, I suspect these were fun to write micro-memes useful on twitter. A topic which I will drop before I get into a discussion of how much twitter makes me dislike people.

  9. January 2, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    But that wasn’t marketed as a documentary.

  10. January 2, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    I have just a simple response. SyFy is premiering ‘Avalanch Sharks’ next week. Credulity only goes so far, but they did blur the lines with the mermaid and megalodon ‘mockumentaries’.

  11. KT
    January 2, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    I loved this show….it was so bad it was fun to watch it with my 12 year old. We talked about all the problems we could find with it and laughed and laughed and laughed.

  12. Graham
    January 2, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    Jason Colavitio made an interesting comment on this in his latest blog post, he noted that most of the people who watch these programs seem to make no disctinction between legitimate documentaries and over hyped fluff shows like ‘Mermaids’.

  13. spookyparadigm
    January 2, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    I think he’s a lot closer to the money than those who suggest people watch ironically. Especially as most of these shows are so dreadfully bad that it is difficult to watch for that long unless you care about them.

    Probably the closest to “watch for laughs” would be Georgio Tsoukalos and his hair and accent, and he knows it. Yet it is clear a big portion of the audience watches because the ideas fit with other ideologies they bring to the table.

  14. Chris Howard
    January 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    True, but this isn’t a new marketing technique.

    American Grindhouse cinema promoters have been doing this sort of thing for decades, and side-show barkers before them.

    I’m not saying that the intentional blurring of fact and fiction is an ethical thing, but it isn’t unethical, either.

    I suppose context, and intent are everything?

  15. Chris Howard
    January 3, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Yep. You can put your content out there, but you cannot control how the audience will think, and react to it.

  16. spookyparadigm
    January 3, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Yes, it is all about context. A sideshow barker is, well, a sideshow barker.

    Apparently, the people who run the Discovery channels are also sideshow barkers. While all TV is about marketing, they decided to tear away any illusion of credibility. Clearly a short-term profitable decision, but likely one that will limit their long-term viability.

  17. January 23, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Think a little bit: all aquatic mammals are fat: whales, manatees, seals, dolphins, and even hippos (that live in the hot Africa) …. And the purpose for this is not to loose body heat which is faster in the water.
    Don’t you think that the mermaids shown at the cold sea of Greenland (in this documentary) are too skinny?
    It was a nice history till I see the athletic fat free mermaids of Greenland in the Animal Planet’s documentary.
    Luiz Cesar da Costa Filho,
    Porto Alegre – RS – Brazil.

Comments are closed.