Earlier this month the Discovery Channel kicked off its uber-popular Shark Week with a dramatized special exploring the existence of a prehistoric shark known as megalodon. Megalodons roamed the seas for millions of years and would make today’s largest great white sharks look like Nemo.
The two-hour documentary called, “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” showed actors, pretending to be scientists, hunting for a 67-foot-long shark called Submarine off the coast of South Africa. In an article on National Geographic’s website, scientist and University of Miami Doctoral student David Shiffman says, “Discovery bills itself as the premier science education television station in the world and they’re perpetuating this utter nonsense.”
Megalodon has been extinct for millions of years. This sparked a lot of controversy on social media. Actor and fellow blogger Wil Wheaton posted that Discovery owed its viewers an apology and that, “Discovery betrayed that trust during its biggest viewing week of the year.”
The operative word in the previous quote is trust. People expect, believe and trust that information presented on a channel that’s part of the “The world’s #1NONFICTION media company” will be accurate and truthful.
I have to play devil’s advocate here for a moment. The Discovery Channel’s parent company, Discovery Communications, may say that they’re nonfiction but I don’t know that they back it up with any type of documentation like a Service Level Agreement (SLA). An (SLA) is something companies like TDS offer on products such as managedIP Hosted, our VoIP business solution. It’s our way of saying to customers we believe in our service, we’re willing to back it up in writing, and if we’re not able to deliver we’ll compensate you.
Even if Discovery did offer an SLA you’d want to read the fine print. As an example let’s say Discovery makes the claim that they’re 100% accurate during the day. That’s fine and dandy but what happens once the sun goes down? Same thing for an SLA from your telecommunications company, the devil’s in the details. That’s why TDS cuts out the legalese and uses bullet points to make our SLA’s easy to understand.
Of course all this debate about what they did may be a moot point. Despite their opening night flub this year’s shark week was the most popular in the franchises 26-year history. According to Deadline.com this year’s shark extravaganza brought in an average of 2.12 million viewers during primetime and nearly 29-million unique viewers!