We have been tracking the spread of one of the worst cage breach videos ever to be caught on tape. The event happened at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico in 2007 and was posted on You Tube shortly after waiting for an editor or producer to take it mainstream.
That happened on Monday when the Times Online covered the video. What happened next is a classic case of viral negative media.
Today we'll be looking through the media lens on this event to highlight how far this video has spread-estimating the number of people who have been impacted.
Negative operational events (NOE's) affect the entire shark diving industry and ripple through the global media like wildfire. This is one example of how poor media handling immediately after an event has lead to the current negative media storm. Sadly, in the end, the sharks are the real victims here once again portrayed as 70's iconic, vicious killers.
Today is Wednesday December 10.2008-72 hours after the initial story broke in the U.K
1. Times Online readership 618,160
2. Telegraph U.K readership 882,413
3. The Sun readership 7,900,000
4. Courier Mail Au 224,689
1. Today Show NBC-USA viewers 4,910,000
2. Today Show NBC-USA viewers 4,910,000 (second show Dec 11)
3. CBS Evening News-USA viewers n/a
4. ABC Good Morning America viewers 5,656,000
Major Viral Video Sites
1. You Tube 1 views 683,140
2. You Tube 2 views 149,541
3. You Tube 3 views 15,419
4. Break.com views 291,877
5. Travelistic.com views 27,160
A quick blog search shows this video on well over 400 blogs and video posts at this time. Estimated numbers of viewers is hard to count.
The coverage of this video by the mainstream media will burn out by the end of this week. The driving force behind this video's success has been CNN's Planet in Peril and a recent expose on cage diving in South Africa. The story will not end here. This video will now sit on literally thousands of servers across the planet with absolutely no chance of it being taken down.
"Post spin" after a negative operational event (NOE) is not effective. Viewers of this video make up their own minds based on the negative media in front of them and will continue to carry that view. The real tragedy here is the animal which was put into an "artificial situation" driving both the anti shark diving agenda, and the negative image of sharks.
Operators have a small window immediately after an event like this to control media should they choose to exercise this option. Failing to do so, as we have seen this week, damages everyone.