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L.A. TIMES: Moving Soaps (AMC/OLTL) from TV to Web: Easier Said Then Done!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

The Los Angeles Times weighed in on the big announcement that sent shockwaves through the industry and fans of the soap genre late this week.  We can only be talking about the news that One Life to Live and All My Children have been given new life, when they go off network television, and will land on the Internet.  It all centers around a deal brokered by ABC and Prospect Park.  But according to the L.A. Times, the situation could be fraught with some large hurdles to overcome for it to be successful. Here are some key points below from the article on the Prospect Park- One Life to Live/All My Children online venture that are thought-provoking!

LATimes: “The economics of such a move wouldn’t be easy. Soap operas have large casts, writing staffs, producers and lots of sets. In other words, they’re not cheap. A soap can cost as much as $50 million a year to produce.

The announcement from Prospect Park — an entertainment company whose partners include former Disney executive Rich Frank that has aspirations of creating a Web entertainment giant — was very sparse on the details of how it would pull off moving the two soaps from broadcast television to the Internet.

It is also unclear who from the two soap operas is actually on board with the plan. ABC is licensing its soaps to Prospect Park, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire cast and crew are involved. Neither ABC or Prospect Park are commenting beyond their news release. Prospect Park will have to cut deals with the talent of the two soaps, who would probably have to take pay cuts if they want to be involved in the new versions of the shows.

Both soaps average about 2.5 million viewers, a number that may be hard to reach online. Also advertising online is not as expensive as advertising on television.  Until the Internet as a distribution system and — more important — advertising on the Internet reach parity with television, the idea of network-like programming on the Web may be a plot better left to soap operas.”

So what do you think about the issues this article raises? They bring to light many of the things that many in the industry and soap fans have been pondering with no direct answers yet since this news broke!.  Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story in the coming weeks.

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Amy
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Amy

I am a realist and realize that a move like this would involve some loss but I will say as far as the cast…soaps have always had an everchanging cast…always…I don’t see the same people on OLTL or AMC that I did 20 years ago for the most part and so if not everyone remains I am okay with that while I recognize that each show has staple characters that must be present for at least a couple years of the transition for the show to be viable before they can afford to lose them. I have watched soap opera… Read more »

Kim Goodwin
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Kim Goodwin

Amy I agree with you 100%. I know Agnes has told us that she is going to help Prospect Park write the stories and she knows a lot more of the details. I trust her word and I know she would never tell the fans of what is her baby (AMC) that these shows will be better than ever with the same quality and just as it is now if she knew that they couldn’t afford it. This new company could also be expanding internationally as this project has been in the works for awhile and they got a large… Read more »

brian
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brian

yes, i would agree that more than 2.5 million watch OLTL, please find a way to include us Canadians! Look at OLTL’s ties to Canada, aka Bree Williamson, Nathan Fillion, etc…

Michael Smith
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Michael Smith

The question becomes: What will this new internet incarnation look like? If some pallid, amateur version of either show is the best that can be accomplished, they may be better off having a dignified finale.

I did find a glimmer of hope in the news, but the number of questions generated and a glaring absence of answers is troubling.

Kim Goodwin
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Kim Goodwin

being told that it is going to be better than ever from Agnes so I trust her. Not ABC/Disney and the fact they still have power to make them go away is scary but I just hope that they won’t. The facts are we don’t have anything but a brief blurb of what is happening. Told one hour long same quality and hopefully same charactors. Good writing with Agnes on the sidelines helping. We just have to hope nobody is being given any false hope but he actors sound happy once they had the following day to discuss with their… Read more »

liz
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liz

These are the exact same things I was worried about too. I would gladly pay to watch oltl, if they continue to make it as good as it has been lately. The bully storyline really captured my heart and reminded me of a time where there were valuable lessons that could be learned from soaps. Although, anyone who sees a soap and aspires to be like that may want to consult there therapist, the social issues that they deal with are really amazing. From rape, to abuse, to bullying, they have the ability to send a profound message to a… Read more »

Robin
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Robin

I’ve often wondered why soaps didn’t pare down their cast and find better writers. A lot can be done in a half hour, at a cost that may not be as exorbitant as what the hour long soaps incur.

I miss soaps, but knew there was nothing for me to see after ATWT said goodbye. I wish people would crunch the numbers, the talent and hire some amazing writers!

I don’t think I’d pay to watch other AMC or OLTL, but I’m thrilled for soap fans that there is hope!

Jan
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Jan

I truely dont know what to say, I’ve admired the work of theses people.
Soaps are hard to do, script have to be learned fast.
What pisses me off are actors come and go ruining storylines, having to force SOAPS
to putting terrible storylines in their stories place.
OLTL was the last show I real watched last October of 2010.
STARR & COLE.

mike
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mike

Soaps went to hour long formats because the cost was only a fraction more than the half hour but the profit was double. I think we all know this new venture will fail, the hope is that one or both of the shows might come back to ABC after the new “reality ” shows fail badly.While there is life, there is hope.

Todd Bennett
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Todd Bennett

Wow “Mike”. You make a statement that “I think we all know this new venture will fail”. Jeez, the announcement was JUST made…give the plan a chance. There are surely alot of details that cannot be released yet as I would think contracts must be renegotiated among alot of other details. These full plans are not going to be released until all that is finalized. So, that doesn’t mean “it’s going to fail”. The transition hasn’t even come close to happening yet. I’ve watched OLTL since almost day one (Viki was still residing with her father at Llanfair and sister,… Read more »

Reed
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Reed

I do not put much stock in what the LA Times has to say. First off, they say that both shows only average 2.5 million viewers. Where do they get this number? Well, from the ratings. Ratings which only reflect people who watch live or same day DVR viewing. This does not take into account people who watch on Soapnet, Abc.com, utube, other various third party websites, or people who simply wait til the weekend to watch the DVR recordings. The ratings system for TV is and always has been flawed, whereas the Internet “ratings” are not because an Internet… Read more »

skyangel
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skyangel

what happens to the older people in nursing homes that do not have internet they are without their shows and the people on fixed incomes it is not fair . this is so not fair to the other people we can watch our shows there are people that are going to be left out we have to fight for them

harlee
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harlee

I think this is wonderful news for this genre. Prospect Park is being pioneers as soaps was in the beginning. Yes, cuts will be coming but I don’t think it will be jarring and not as expensive as network television. People that has made a living by being involved rather actors, writers, producers etc.. that is a love for this genre to succeed. There are passionate people in this industry who has a deep love. As one poster suggested Amy soaps can do some amazing realistic, character driven stories, not be confined and put more grit with internet and that… Read more »

skyangel
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skyangel

ok what about the older soap fans that have no internet ? Because they are in Nursing home or on fixed income can we just say ok we have our shows I can not just forget about them. Can we still fight for them?

harlee
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harlee

I’m older, 50 and now the shows have been saved comes well I don’t have internet? There is always a way if wanted to watch the soaps, either by grandchildren helping their elders, which they should, nursing homes (I work in dietary) have computers. The nursing home where I worked is going to install a desk top in the multi-purpose room so the residents can watch “their” shows. Listen the residents pay for nursing home services they can demand to internet. This is a flimsy excuse, just another reason to have something to complain about…..senior centers are free and have… Read more »

mo
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mo

I hope they thought of some of these things before the deal was made. Where will the shows be filmed? Will PP lease space from ABC to continue as is? I think if I were one of these shows and I had already made plans past cancellations or had prospects, I would go with that. Seemed like hoorah at first, but all the technical stuff is quite overwhelming. And I think the cast will really have to be pared down. Plus, I don’t know about the rest of people, my computer chair is not as comfy as my TV chair.… Read more »

brian
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brian

Mo, it is so easy to hook your pc to your tv, assuming you have a flat screen tv. Most have a vga input, or pc input, or an hdmi input, if it has any of these, any pc can be displayed on it.

Todd Bennett
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Todd Bennett

Correct, Brian. Even if you have your laptop on the floor…using an HDMI cable from the laptop into the TV…will basically make your TV a very large PC monitor…you still use the mouse or laptop pad to make your way to the website this will be hosted on and then once it’s playing…you watch on your TV.

skyangel
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skyangel

OK but what if you do not have any of that we all do but what if you lived in a nursing home or just had t.v. no internet cause you were on a fixed income alot of people do not have internet so they will be out and now we will not be able to record our shows and is this their way of getting back at us for causing a riot to put it on the internet and make us pay for it I think it is. Now they fired most of the cast on OLTL think they… Read more »

Amanda G
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Amanda G

While I am happy that PP had the faith in these shows to give them a chance and move them online, I am also saddened by the fact that MANY viewers will be left behind and on the day they show ends on TV is the day it ends for them, for many different reason. It’s great for the ones that have internet access. But many rural areas are still dial up coverage. I know in the area I live over a year ago that was my only way to get online was Dial up. I also worked in a… Read more »

Linda Dowell
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Linda Dowell

I would pay a fee each month to watch these soaps at my leisure – I do believe this will be the end result – it won’t be computer advertising.

And, I’ll pay………and I would guess I’m not unique – most die hard soap fans will.

brian
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brian

agreed, Linda, I will pay to for OLTL, even in Canada

Gmbenet
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Gmbenet

The only way this will work is if advertisers are willing to pay for it and there are actors who are willing to work cheap. This might be a good opportunity for aspiring actors who need a chance to showcase their talents. I do not see veteran soap actors doing this under contract because the pay would be too low. They (the veteran actors) could use the demise of AMC and OLTL to pursue other interests that would be more lucrative. Something could be worked out regarding sets. I don’t know about wardrobe, hair and make-up. So ultimately, the shows… Read more »

Linda Dowell
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Linda Dowell

I don’t know the costs involved of internet broadcast – I believe it must be cheaper in some form because it’s being pursued – ie Netflix and Kevin Spacey – but, if each person paid $25/month to watch AMC/OLTL, and there’s 2.5 million people watching – which we believe to be low – that’s revenue to the org of $62.5mm each month. Plus whatever they may get from internet ads – which may have some significance due to the size of the audience. They may lose some audience – but – they may also gain audience of the young and… Read more »

david
Guest
david

These shows have the potential to reach tens of millions of more viewers over the internet. Broadband is better developed and cheaper in Western Europe and parts of Asia than the US. Initial financial limitations will be overcome as millions of new viewers begin watching from all over the world. This is a smart strategy and investment. This is the future of video.

Todd Bennett
Guest
Todd Bennett

I thought of this as well. Will some of the highest-paid actors (Erika Slezak, Robert S. Woods, Robin Strasser) be open to what I would think would be large pay cuts? Same for Head Writer Rob Carlivati and those behind the scenes?
Another point I thought of is being on the internet–new stories could be explored that might not have been approved by the bosses at ABC daytime. Partial nudity a possibility? R rated type language? It’s all a possibility as the “soap opera” of yesterday becomes tomorrow’s new daytime serial!

monday
Guest
monday

I’ll watch online soaps, but I hope AMC & OLTO do better with their story lines. When AMC brought back Greenley it was a big disappointment, the story line between her and david was so boring, there was no chemistry between the two and with ryan either (IMO). I like Cara, but not with Tad, no chemistry, I like Griff, but not with Kendall and I don’t like what they are doing with Marissa & Bianca. Madison & Griff would be a good match up and Cara should be paired with Ryan.

mike
Guest
mike

I think the viewership of the shows is more than what Nielsen reports. The current rating system must be changed. I think Prospect Park is using the shows to jump start their company. They are using the shows in the way Direct TV used Passions a couple of years ago, to get sign ups they hope will stay even after their show is dropped. I do hope I’m wong. I have watched OLTL since the first days of Doris Belack,Antony Ponzinni, and the Storm Brothers as the Wolek Family, Nat Polen as the fatherly Dr. Jim Craig, Ellen Holly as… Read more »

John F
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John F

It’s all about cost, and production costs would be significantly lower for soaps going to the Internet as opposed to television.

Alice G
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Alice G

I am happy they are being saved but I hope these two new shows fail because we have enough reality and cooking shows already, Soaps are unique most of us have watched them since we were teenagers. If these show fail they will return our soaps without a doubt. I don’t think AMC and OLTL will be successul on the internet. I think ABC should reconsider because we the soap watchers are the ones watching TV at that time and we want our soaps in the afternoon!!

jp
Guest
jp

I hope oltl can continue online for a short time and that a cable network like usa or tnt can buy the rights for the show. It can be done. I just found out that Dallas is coming back to tnt in the summer of 2012. Keep believing OLTL fans.

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So, will you be watching Chrishell on the upcoming season of Selling Sunset? Comment below.

 

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So, looking forward to seeing the Pine Valley crew on Reunion Road Trip? Comment below.

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