Saturday, December 13, 2014

Where "Eaten Alive" messed up?

I finally got to see the video that made headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past one week! That “Eaten Alive” broadcast on Discovery where a naturalist and a wildlife filmmaker, Paul Rosolie, was supposed to enter the belly of a giant Anaconda and yet survive. If you haven’t heard of this, you are seriously missing something! Whether he entered the belly or not is another story altogether!

Eaten Alive - moment when Anaconda starts swallowing Paul Rosolie

If you enjoy watching wildlife channels like Discovery, Nat Geo or Animal Planet and you were completely oblivious to the promotions, you would have loved this show. Seriously! This show starts with Paul Rosolie and his team of experts searching for what Paul claims to be one of the biggest Anacondas alive in Amazon. Their hunt passes through the dense forest of Amazon right up to the floating forest (which, by the way, is awesome – not for a vacation, but for viewing purposes). On the way, they come across relatively smaller Anacondas, Alligators, Electric Eels etc. Later, they realize they could not find that giant Anaconda and had to make-do with a relatively smaller one. Paul, in his hi-tech suit, tries to grab the Anaconda’s attention. Anaconda gives it, grabs the head of Paul, starts swallowing and slowly reaches his shoulders when Paul snaps. His team comes to his rescue and, well, that’s it. To be fair to Paul, he attempted something unique and he and his team deserves due credit (assuming you still haven’t seen the promotions). Technically, Eaten Alive lived up to its name. Paul was eaten alive. 

Now see how they promoted the show - 

Eaten Alive promotions - Paul Rosolie enters the belly of Anaconda

This is exactly where they messed up – promotions. They heavily promoted eaten alive to the extent where curious viewers (me included) were expecting Paul to be inside the belly of the snake and will remain there till help is called for / snake decides to push him out. But neither happened. Instead Paul called for help immediately when the Anaconda reached his shoulders. With due respects to Paul for even attempting such a feat, fooling viewers was just not what the doctor ordered! When the promotions were being aired in November, I initially felt they were crossing the invisible line which they are not supposed to cross and decided never to watch / support such an initiative. But these promotions totally gripped me like an Anaconda normally would do to its prey.

Discovery also got some serious negative publicity (but publicity, nevertheless) from various wildlife conservationists / organizations. They were contemplating banning the show altogether. Entering the belly of any animal alive, let alone a giant anaconda goes against the basic right of the animal to live. The animal may get killed during the “stunt”, may be seriously injured and in any ways, won’t be benefited at all. Paul Rosolie defended the stunt claiming they are doing this to generate awareness on reducing numbers of Anaconda. Quite an ironic argument, I must say. If you want to generate awareness, you could have done it with anaconda facts and figures, reasons why their count is reducing, and how viewers can contribute towards this cause. 

Another area where I feel they goofed up was that the “eaten alive” part of the show was smaller in comparison to the “search” part. The search for the biggest Anaconda was shown for almost an hour and the actual stunt was just about 15 minutes. They could have easily reduced the viewing time from over 90 minutes to less than 45 minutes by just concentrating on what they intend to show. As a viewer, you had to go through virtual treks and informative discussions on Anaconda to reach the climax, which was primarily the reason why you decided to view this.

The first show of “Eaten Alive” turned out to be more like “Tasted Alive”! Overall, a decent enough show killed by its own promotions! If eye-balls are what they were looking for, they got it right. But will they sustain it? I doubt.


  1. Very interesting post..
    Thanks for sharing !!
    Have a nice day :)

  2. I can't believe I read the whole post O_O as I was having second thoughts after reading the title :-s
    Glad I did.
    Good one!!! :D


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