Leaked 'Lost' episode spurs surprising fan reaction

The first hour of the final season of ABC's "Lost" has leaked online, and the reaction is not what industry insiders expected.

Though preview content for heavily serialized dramas such as "Lost" are typically and frantically consumed online by fans, the sixth season of the ABC hit has managed to build such an epic level of anticipation that many fans are doing the unthinkable: refusing to watch the leaks.



When the opening scene from the premiere popped up online after a fan promotion Friday, users of one popular social network site voted to "bury" the video.



"Why spoil it now?" wrote one fan with the moniker MyWhiteNoise. "I'd rather watch it in hi-def and surround sound than ruin the surprise and watch some (low-quality) video."



To TV executives, such statements are like something from an alternative universe, the polar-bear opposite of how young, Web-savvy viewers typically respond to content. Fans usually embrace any short cut that skips the linear TV and advertiser-supported experience.



"We never had a show like 'Lost' before that had these kind of fans that love it so much that they don't want to know what happens before the premiere," said Michael Benson, co-executive vice president of marketing at ABC. "Fans feel like they own this thing, just like we do."



On Monday, fan commitment was given an even greater test when the entire premiere episode appeared on YouTube. The video was taken from hand-held cameras discretely shooting during a fan screening on Oahu. The Hawaii event itself was a revelation - can any other TV drama rally 12,000 fans to an island in the South Pacific? Some flew in just to see the 44 minutes of video that US TV channel ABC will air tonight.



Yet when the inevitable YouTube copies appeared Sunday, many videos received only a few hundred hits as online fans registered their lack of interest in crummy bootlegs. "Are people so impatient that they would rather watch a cell phone camera version of the 'Lost' premiere than wait one day?" Kyool wrote on Twitter.



The lavishly shot "Lost" is the original Must-See HD drama. Yet for its final bow, ABC's marketing effort has shown no new footage, which producers wanted to keep under wraps. Until last week, all trailers used material from previous seasons, which the ABC marketing team tried to turn into an advantage.



"We wanted to go back and retell the stories of the characters and the larger situation that they're in," said Marla Provencio, co-executive vice president of marketing at ABC.



Catching up viewers on the complicated drama has always been a big part of the network's strategy with "Lost," but never more so than this year. After a serialized drama peaks, its ratings usually fall in a downward trajectory as infrequent viewers perceive themselves to be further and further behind the story. Ratings for the season premiere of "Lost" have fallen each year since Season Two. Reversing that trend is a major challenge, and ABC has aired repeats (complete with on-screen pop-up information) and has circulated various forms of recap videos online.



Though viewers tend to tune in for a show's last episode, the final season as a whole typically isn't as fortunate. Industry estimates have "Lost" tracking about the same as last year, which would be a victory if the show manages to maintain its previous rating. But - as with the online reaction to the video leaks - ABC is hopeful that "Lost" will surprise.



"'Lost' is like 'American Idol,' it's not your everyday show," Benson said. "From the buzz we're seeing right now, there's an obsession with this show. So who knows?"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

    £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

    £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm - London

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - ASP.Net, C#

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business IT support compan...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project