Around 9.6 million Americans tuned in to watch the highly anticipated debut of ‘Modern Family’ filmed in Australia, with Qantas.com recording a 25 percent * spike in US visitors in the days following the airing of the episode. The episode also reached number one on iTunes “Top TV Episodes” list.
Australian viewers also got to see the episode which aired on Network Ten last night.
Qantas flew the cast and crew from Los Angeles in February and hosted the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan during the two-week filming that took place at iconic Australian locations such as Sydney Harbour, Bondi Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.
The US audience forms a key part of the 22.3 million strong fan base across the globe set to watch the multi-award winning sitcom visit Australia over the next few weeks. The episodes will promote Australia as a travel destination across 29 countries worldwide including The United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand – all key sources of visiting tourists.
Audience figures are expected to be as high as 100 million once episode re-runs and the release of the DVD are taken in to account.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the episode’s debut brings to fruition months of hard work between Twentieth Century Fox and Qantas to promote Australia to the world.
“Qantas is incredibly proud to be part of a project that showcases our country on such a large scale. It will take Australian landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the stunning Whitsunday region into lounge rooms across the globe,” said Mr Joyce.
“This episode gives the world a glimpse of Australian hospitality and culture – which as the national carrier and the biggest private investor in Australian tourism, we are proud to help make happen.
“Modern Family rates as our most popular TV program on-board and we’re confident this vacation episode will inspire more people to take the trip down under. Given it’s also a big hit domestically, it will no doubt encourage some Australians to visit these parts of the country as well.”
Modern Family Co-creator and Executive Producer Steven Levitan said the cast and crew felt spoiled to film in a location like Australia.
“I am sure that anyone who sees this episode will fall in love with Australia and its beauty in the same way we did. The cast and crew absolutely loved their entire Aussie experience from meeting friendly locals to tasting Vegemite and coming face to face with Nemo up in the Whitsundays.”
Qantas has previously supported Australian specials of the Oprah and Ellen shows, both of which produced significant results for international visitors. Ellen DeGeneres’ visit last year sparked a 22 per cent increase in inbound flights to New South Wales alone.
To help encourage increased visitation from the US, Qantas, in partnership with Tourism And Events Queensland, is offering special fares from the USA to Australia, linked to the episode. While there has already been a spike in visitation to Qantas.com off the back of the episode, a positive booking trend is expected over coming weeks as peaked visitor interest translates to flight bookings.
The Australian vacation episode was the result of an exclusive partnership between Qantas Airways, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.
Here’s what the cast had to say about their trip:
“Honestly I have been so delighted by the things I didn’t know about Australia.” – Julie Bowen
“You have genetically superior people here – most beautiful people on earth.” – Ty Burrell
“My God, the best flight I have ever had in my life, it really was. That big double decker airplane was just amazing!” – Ed O’Neill, referring to the A380.
“It’s been nice to get up close and personal with the Sydney Opera House, we’re seeing all the great places. I’m excited to see everything here.” – Rico Rodriguez
“I went surfing in Bondi, I went scuba diving with sharks….next I want to meet some wildlife like koalas and kangaroos.” – Nolan Gould
*compared to week prior