NCIS, FlashForward Buzz Result: Strong Starts, Continue Old Media Campaign

And the results are in:  sneak and leak peeks propelled newcomer shows NCIS:LA and FlashForward to well received premieres.  The CBS property was catapulted with help from its predecessor, no doubt:

Leading out of “NCIS” was spinoff “NCIS: Los Angeles” (4.4/11 in 18-49, 18.73 million viewers overall), which retained 92% of its 18-49 lead-in and outperformed the series preem of “The Mentalist” from last season by a healthy 26% in 18-49 and by 20% in total viewers.”NCIS: Los Angeles” is the season’s top-rated new program to date and drew the largest overall opening-night audience for a scripted series premiere since the Eye’s last crime drama spinoff, “CSI: NY,” bowed with 19.3 million in 2004.

Ratings: 20 million investigate ‘NCIS’ – Entertainment News, TV News, Media – VarietyABC, on the other hand, placed its new series in front of an established property.

ABC’s Thursday is off to a strong start, easily winning the night among young adults as “FlashForward” impressed in its bow and “Grey’s Anatomy” crushed the competition with its two-hour premiere kicking off its sixth season.

‘FlashForward’ off to impressive start – Entertainment News, TV News, Media – Variety

ABC apparently relied on the pre-launch buzz comparing FlashForward to the online and Web 2.0 friendly LOST.  Banking on success with the campaign strategy for the premiere, ABC not letting up any time soon its continuing the full court press.

In the pilot, the entire world’s population falls unconscious for two minutes and 17 seconds, at which point they each have a vision of what they’ll be doing on April 29, 2010 — and thus everyone on Earth has a unique experience that, when shared with others, might help decode the mystery behind the Global Black Out. Thus a plucky young FBI agent suggests that they build a web site to compile said “flashes.”

To say that ABC has taken that one bit of dialogue and run with it is an understatement; there are currently at least eight vaguely separate components to its digital campaign right now, which explore and expand the universe of the show to varying degrees of success.

ABC’s FlashForward Goes Crazy With Online Content

A few of these are typical made-for-the-DVD-compilation:

  • Alternate Reality Media Coverage
  • pseudo-documentary
  • Making of…

Straight out of the LOST playbook.  However, the Facebook Experience is a new twist that sounds very cool and creative.   It is also nice to see ABC embrace Facebook Connect for its live chat.  This is reminiscent of what Fox did with its hopeful buzz generating tweet-peats.  This could very well be a trend to draw dependency away from DVR’s and boost ratings.  A good one at that since it involves authentic sources such as the show runners.

What did you see?

Another nice touch is that the FlashForward media campaign is not just online.  ABC is clearly trying to establish FF as lead in program for a future LOST-less programming schedule.  The popular series, with a rabid internet community, enters its final season in 2010.  Partnering with Sprint, viewers can text the secret word to view sneak peeks of the upcoming episode to satisfy show addicts.  There will also be a Leno-esque Man in the Street segment, that could prove interesting.

The ad-sponsored outreach to what will presumably be hardcore fans of “Flash Forward” is just one technique ABC is testing to boost a show that is of critical importance to the Walt Disney-owned network’s programming lineup. With “Lost” entering its final run in the spring, ABC could be left without a key element of its programming block: a complex drama with a long, overarching story line that drives intense viewer interest and can be parlayed in a number of media venues. “We are trying to line up all the pieces to drive that fan engagement,” said Alexis Rapo, VP-ABC Digital Media.

TV: ‘Flash Forward’ Enlists Sprint, Lexus as Buzz Partners – Advertising Age – MediaWorksWho knows how this will affect cellular phone subscriptions and car sales but it is nice to see some creativity and continued engagement away from the HDTV necessary for these short attention span times.  Speaking of that, here is a sneak peek at the second episode from ABC for you to snack on.  Happy viewing.

[clearspring_widget title=”Sneak Peek: FlashForward 10/1″ wid=”48bda4baaf82f1d1″ pid=”4ac0dc535081ed4e” width=”308″ height=”235″ domain=”widgets.abc.go.com”]

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