Shark Week 2015: Projected Dates, Times, Schedule; Boycott Called for as Discovery Channel Sells Most of Ad Space

Shark Week 2014 is wrapping up on the Discovery Channel on Sunday night and people are wondering what’s going on with next year’s event.

The network is hard at work already producing programming for the 2015 Shark Week.

Discovery’s senior director of development, Michael Sorensen, said that the network tries hard not to simply repeat itself, and fields pitches from a range of filmmakers and producers.

“We’re filming shows now that probably won’t be aired until 2015,” Sorensen told the New York Daily News back in August 2013.

Many people have not been happy with Shark Week during the week this year, with many saying that they won’t be watching any more of the programming.

A “Boycott 2015 Discovery Channel Shark Week” Facebook page has been made to that effect. “Discovery Channel has insulted all their viewers who have been looking forward to Shark Week with their horrendous mockumentary about Megalodon,” it says.

“Shark Week has lost it’s purpose; education and generating support for sharks.” The page only has 185 likes so far but should get bolstered as the year goes on.

However, it’s emerged that the Discovery Channel sold out all of its ad availability and sponsorship for the 2014 Shark Week, and even the 2015 Shark Week is heavily sold, according to Broadcasting Cable.

“Shark Week has become Discovery’s Super Bowl,” said Scott Felenstein, executive VP of ad sales for the network. “It not only draws our regular viewers, but also pulls in lots of casual viewers who wait all year for this week of special shark-related programming. People are even having Shark Week parties much like they have Super Bowl parties. It’s become one of the big holiday events of the summer, in between the Fourth of July and Labor Day.”

Shark Week was so popular with advertisers that Discovery added the live talk show Shark After Dark, which airs each night following the Shark Week programming. That show offered more advertising space and sponsorship opportunities for marketers.

“Shark Week started out as four and five nights a week and then it was expanded to seven,” Felenstein said. “Last year, we added Shark After Dark outside of primetime. Our biggest challenge has been we only have one week to fit all the advertisers in.”

Volkswagen and Dunkin Donuts were among big sponsors this year.

 

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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