Lost as TV3
by Roberta Pearson — University of Nottingham (UK)
February 11, 2008 – 12:00
Unpacking this thirty second commercial provides numerous insights into Lost as the epitome of what television studies scholars have dubbed TV3, a period of technological convergence, new business models and audience fragmentation. ‘Lost is coming to ABC in 2008’ – the multi-channel universe makes a nonsense of the old network season scheduling model. But without the traditional network premiere week how to a) keep viewers interested and b) let them know when the new ‘season’ starts. One answer is to produce trans-media texts like mobisodes that keep viewers involved in the story and and that provide the network an opportunity to promo the new ‘season.’ ‘Right now it’s on Verizon wireless v-cast’ – how will the technological convergence that permits mobisodes, ARGs, downloads and so forth affect Hollywood’s business models and revenue streams? This is, of course, the issue at the heart of the writers’ strike. ‘Exclusive video episodes that fill in the blanks between your favourite shows’ – what’s the narrative relationship between the episodes and the multiple texts of a trans-media story? The Lost producers have adopted the fan fiction model of fitting in the ‘missing pieces’ in the established narrative timeline. ‘New scenes, new clues, a new chance to get into the mystery of Lost’ – how does TV3’s characteristic narrative complexity attract or repel audiences? It seems unlikely that these mobisodes will be watched by any but the keenest Lost fans and even more unlikely that they will attract new viewers to the show.