By Eleftheria Parpis
We all know that necessity breeds invention, and it's no different for the creators of prime-time programming. Tim Kring, creator of NBC's Heroes, said at an Advertising Week event on branded entertainment that he was looking at the way TV audiences were migrating to other media when he decided to tell the Heroes story across multiple platforms. "It evolved out of necessity," he said. "It came out of a simple philosophy of trying to figure out how to fish where the fish are."
Kring—appearing on a panel moderated by Mitch Kanner of 2 Degree Ventures and also featuring Rick Rosen, co-founder of Endeavor, and Mike Pilot, president of sales at NBC Universal—said he had previously tried to "shoe-horn" multiplatform storytelling into Crossing Jordan but found that "the idea of the show didn't lend itself to it, so it wasn't a natural fit." He created Heroes, which premiered in fall 2006, with the multiplatform delivery in mind, but in the beginning it was an experiment. In a matter of three weeks, however, the digital staff grew from three to 67 people.
"When I created Heroes, I looked at it as an opportunity to take a wider stance, not only in terms of multiplatform but within the network itself," Kring said. "We provided a beta testing ground for that department in how to get into that space." Managing the brand integration of Nissan and Sprint into the show, he said, has required early commitments from both sides to naturally integrate the product into the story line. The Nissan Versa, for example, was turned into the leading character's vehicle. "We got a big kick out of it creatively," he said. "We treat it like a Batmobile."