Making Money from Lost

Tonight ABC’s hit television series Lost returns for its sixth and final season. Last year, the show averaged over 11 million television viewers per episode and in May 2009, episodes of Lost were viewed more than 36.4 million times on! More important than the number of viewers, though, is the dedication that the fans have to the show. Lost is the perfect example of a cult television show: it has a dedicated and thriving international fan community.

Losties, as the fans are called, travel to conventions, and actively participate in group screenings and on a large number of both official and unofficial websites. Because of the show’s elaborate mythology, it has extensive fan websites, where fans have focused on speculation and theorizing about the island’s mysteries, as well as on more typical fan activities such as producing fan fiction and videos, compiling episode transcripts, and collecting memorabilia.

That this is the last season of the show, coupled with the enormous fan base, makes for the perfect opportunity to profit from Lost!

Lost Tourism

Lost is one of the very best best television shows that for tourism that has ever been made. Almost every scene of the show is filmed on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, where the average daytime temperature is 78 to 85 degrees year-round. Hawaii is a tourist destination par excellence, with hundreds of hotels, resorts, condominiums, campgrounds, hostels, and vacation rentals serving the nearly 70 million people who visit each year.

KOS Tours offers a 10 hour on and off-road tour of Lost filming locations on the island of Oahu for $209 per person ($159 for a child) with a four adult minimum.

An 8 hour tour, plus lunch, at Hawaiian Escapades is $249 per person, with a two person minimum.

The map above is from the website LOST Locations, that was put together to document Lost filming locations by area, character, season, and location type.

Other good sources of Lost location data include:

Although Lost is mostly filmed in Hawaii, the action takes place all over the world, including Los Angeles, London, Syndey, and Iraq. Even though the location won’t look exactly right, you could also run smaller tours in these cities as well.

Creative Commons License photo credit: [email protected]

Lost Parties

Creative Commons License photo credit: ambernussbaum

The Lost series finale will run during May 2010, and millions of people world-wide will want to enjoy the moment with their friends and fellow Losties. In 1998, it was enough to serve gazpacho at a Seinfeld series finale party. Today, people who spend thousands of dollars on entertainment (petting zoos, goodie bags and ferris wheels) at their children’s birthday parties expect more. Matt Roeser has thrown some incredible Lost finale parties over the last five seasons.

I host a LOST finale party where everyone dresses up as a character or object and comes over to find a house that is decorated in some sort of LOST theme. Trivia and prizes and a trophy for best costume are handed out. Then we sit back and watch the finale. It’s safe to say it’s gotten WAY out of hand!

Here are some other sources for who want to throw a Lost themed party:


Do you have a restaurant or bar with a large screen television? Consider a regular Lost viewing each week. The Bagdad Theater and Pub in Portland, Oregon shows episodes of Lost on their large screen each week. Admission is $3 per person, and food and drinks are available.

Lost T-Shirts

Unique t-shirts are very popular with the Lost 18-49 year old demographic, so why not try your hand at creating and selling your own Lost-themed t-shirts. All it takes is some designing in Photoshop, and a CafePress account and you’ve got yourself an online store. Here are some examples to inspire you:

Lost Costumes

Although the series finale of Lost will be in May, there will still be some people who want to be Lost characters for Halloween. If you hurry, you might also be able to cash in on the Lost finale parties, too. Every party will need their own Hurley.

If you already sell clothing, it might be easy to repurpose some of your items as Lost related merchandise, like has done with their “Lost Jumpsuit“. has a great description of what you need to put together a costume for each of the Lost characters. Ben, for example:

Most Distinguishing Clothing: Nothing really stands out with Ben. I’d say just a business casual type of look.

Other Clothing: Small, wire-framed glasses

You could also wear a name tag with one of Sawyer’s nicknames for Ben: Captain Bunny Killer or Big Kahuna.

If you carry a sign, it could say: We are the good guys, Michael or My name is Henry Gale. I’m from Minnesota.

Lost Podcasts

One of the most popular fan podcasts about Lost is The Transmission. It is produced each week by fans Ryan and Jen Ozawa, who live in Hawaii where Lost is filmed. I don’t have any idea of the number of subscribers that they have, but it’s probably only a fraction of the number of people that watch Lost each week. Even so, Audible the “the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, on the Internet” advertises during their show.

Since Losties are so hungry for anything Lost, if you have access to quality audio production equipment and have a unique take on the show, you’ll gain listeners like crazy. Here are some other great Lost podcasts:

Write a book about Lost

You don’t have to be officially sanctioned to write a book about Lost. Here are some unofficial books that are popular on Amazon:

Sell Lost Related Products on eBay

You won’t be surprised to hear that everything Lost related is for sale on eBay. A quick search reveals a TV Guide Magazine with Sawyer on the cover, a Hurley action figure, a script (real or not) from an episode of the show, Oceanic Air ballpoint pen props and Dharma Watches. If it’s Lost related, it’ll sell on eBay.


I hope that this article has given you plenty to think about and will inspire you to take advantage of pop culture and profit from it.

If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

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