Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nat Geo Wild - being Truthful?

Interesting interview!
Like if I were to put the Megalodon show on air, honestly Nat Geo Wild would get crickets, like I couldn't… my audience doesn't expect that from us...
So right now, what we're doing with Shark Fest – I'm shamelessly letting Discovery do all the work for me. They've chummed the waters. They've brought in a huge number of people, by the way, most of whom don't give a hoot about natural history at all, or about animals in that sense. But they're pulling a big group of people and look, I'm running right under them with a very sort of tongue in cheek marketing campaign that is actually taking a poke at them...
And when people come and they go oh, it's a shark, and then they stick on our network… we're starting to see people who are really appreciative of the difference [between Shark Fest and Shark Week] and are noticing that difference more and more. And they're saying "oh wow, they're not megalodon-ing me, they're actually giving me the real story behind those amazing animals in a way that just feels different to me."...

But the most important thing, sort of bringing it full circle, is we have to be true.
And I think that that takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of vision and leadership to be willing to have the courage of your convictions and to stand in there while everybody is running one way to say, "this may not be the quickest path to success, but I'm certain that if we stay there that we will create this loyal core of viewers and online followers that will start to evangelize for the network and start to tell their friends and start to tell their families, and that over time will grow."

And so I actually think that the path to positive activism is through emotional engagement. And I think that you can't do that by putting on heavy hitting, dire, guilt-ridden awfulness, because people see that every night on the news.
For me, the mission is about making people fall in love, to fall in love with that animal, to fall in love with that place. And then giving them the outlets and the opportunity to then, in their own way and in their own time, come into the tent and be inspired, to engage on deeper and deeper levels, whatever that level is. Because at the end of the day, I don't need everybody to become fire breathing activists. 
Well said - but is this for real?
Time will tell. At this stage, this all very much smells like a thinly veiled marketing exercise that capitalizes on the fact that Discovery appears to have totally lost the plot. Granted the Nat Geo Wild programs, whilst still utilizing plenty of sensationalist language and fake drama are thankfully not quite as totally moronic as some of the latest shit by DC - but they're still light years away from, say, the BBC, and the breathy claim of being committed to telling the truth is only valid in comparative, and certainly not in absolute terms.
Case in point - and it's by far not the only questionable program!
Re-read this!

And Discovery?
Word on the street is that Eileen has been sacked and that everything is on hold as they all figure out what's next. I'm not at all hopeful that this may be an indication of serious soul searching and re-orientation - but who knows.

We shall be watching!


Megalobomb said...

I am hopeful that Nat Geo Wild will walk the walk. During Shark Week, Nat Geo was airing natural science documentaries as an unofficial rival for ratings.

However, I am cautionary. More and more researchers are refusing to work with Discovery (and Nat Geo), so they are running out of material. I fear that these words could also be an attempt to win the trust of researchers. Otherwise, they will have to keep featuring the same aging personalities who are only capable of rehashing previous shows.

Lesson: Don't bite the hand that feeds you content. BBC & Smithsonian Channel have that figured out and that has not gone unnoticed in the research field.

DaShark said...

Not convinced about the Smithsonian.

Propagating the legend about that enormous "unknown" predator eating a big GWS in SW Australia when the researchers clearly stated that the tag had been bitten off and ingested by another GWS, and providing a platform for the assorted ramblings of Ms Stewart has left me somewhat underwhelmed.

But yes - both the dive operators and the researchers need to assume the stewardship of the animals, and refuse to enable Shark Porn.
I've been advocating that for a long, long time and it is good to see that slowly slowly, we appear to be moving in the right direction.

Leaves those pathetic media whores posing as conservationists.
They need to be finally stamped out, or we'll never see the end of this shit.

Megalobomb said...

Agg, man... I forgot about that whole shark tag debacle (I haven't seen the ramblings, will go Google now). Yet another titan falls.

DaShark said...


Not a titan - just another network trying to milk the current Shark craze by airing what appear to be a haphazard collection of Shark-related programs.