DATA REPORT: Shark Week 2017

The venerable and dependable “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel has been part of the popular culture since its debut in 1988. With years of success behind it and no sign of disappearing anytime soon, the Data SQAD decided to run a quick 10 year CPM Volatility Report on the programming block to see what insights jump out in the CPM data.

With 2017 seeing the head-to-head showdown between Michael Phelps and a great white shark pulling in more than 5 million total viewers (making it the highest-rated Shark Week special ever across P25-54, W25-54, and W18-49). Discovery became the No. 1 basic cable network in primetime Sunday night. So what does the CPM data say.

Observations & Insights from the Data SQAD:

  • In 2016, Discovery’s Shark Week had year/year increases in CPM value across ALL demos…except Men 25-54 (which saw a 25% decrease from 2015).
  • During this year’s Shark Week, CPM for Adults 25-54 was 23% higher than the CPM for Adults 18-49.
  • Despite the Olympic Games in 2012 & 2016, Shark Week saw year-over-year CPM increases in almost all demos.
  • Since 2008, Shark Week has seen a steady 32% increase for household combination CPMs.
  • Shark Week 2017 has seen a 36% decrease in CPM values for Men 18-49 compared to last year.
  • In 2012, the 25th Anniversary of Shark Week saw CPMs skyrocket 40% over the previous year, for Adults 18-49.
  • When Shark Week celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012, CPMs for Women 25-54 jumped 126% from the year prior.
  • Compared to last year, Shark Week CPMs for Men 18-49 dropped 36%.
  • Shark Week 2017 experienced a 51% year-over-year drop in CPM value for Women 18-49.


The SQAD CPM Volatility Index is calculated as a percentage differential to the previous reporting period. Within the view port range, the first data point represents ‘0’ and subsequent points are plotted based on the percentage change from the previous point. The intention of the index is to show activity within a certain timeframe against the origination point.