Lost: A Media Transition

05/24/2010 09:54 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Last night, millions of viewers said goodbye to Lost, ABC Studios' top-rated and highly anticipated show. A show that ran for 6 seasons. A show that often times confused viewers. And, a show that actively participated in what will be defined as one of the most disruptive and innovative times in media.

Lost may be gone from TV screens. However, it will continue to live across different platforms - DVDs, posters, forums, etc. Everyday, a new viewer will be engaged by the show and continue to follow it's story until they finish or they get frustrated with the lack of information. Regardless of how the viewer perceives the show, the media industry should look at it and learn from it. It did many things right, a few things wrong. However, in the end, it was part of a significant media transition.

Some highlights from a media perspective:

  • Hosted podcast: One of the biggest media initiatives was a weekly podcast (audio or video) that coincided with the release of every TV episode. Some of these were behind the scenes videos while others were answers from the creators of the show. Even today, very few shows take that initiative and use iTunes to distribute supplementary content.
  • Online video: Lost was amongst the first "major" shows to have an online video presence. This not only included recaps, but also included full-length episodes. The network also started distributing its content on Hulu recently.
  • Video on demand: Similar to online video, Lost was made available on a number of video on demand platforms, most notably iTunes.
  • Online sites: Although this has become popular with almost every TV show today, Lost was amongst the first shows to leave clues via specially created online sites. While these were used to primarily engage the audience, it was an effective way to talk about the show and also tie in to the story line.
What's next:

When it comes to media properties, Lost is in a category of its own. It got people to talk. It generated buzz. This experience shouldn't go away. When Lost went on the air 6 years ago, there were very few advanced mobile phones with good media capabilities. Today, with Android, iPhone, iPad and more products in the pipeline, interactive media is a reality.

Set-top boxes like XBOX 360 have transformed the living room. Want to interact on Facebook with your XBOX 360? No problem. Want to read tweets? No problem.

Despite a large user base, there are very few media companies that have challenged the status-quo. To monetize content after Lost goes off the air, ABC should create an iPad app which sells for $49.99 and include every single episode as a stream. The app should be interactive, should have games and should link directly to a community portal with forums and discussions.

Regardless of how ABC decides to proceed, I have a feeling that it will be more than just a DVD box set. Today, platforms are advanced enough to deliver stunning experiences and should be leveraged to their fullest potential.

In the end, from one fan -- goodbye, Lost. It's been entertaining.


Aanarav Sareen is a content creator and digital media consultant. He blogs daily at Digital Media Business and publishes the monthly Digital Media Newsletter. He's also the host of the weekly Digital Media Podcast.