After the first few weeks of the re-launch of beloved soaps All My Children and One Life to Live online by Prospect Park, chiefs Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank have decided in the best interest of the survival of both shows in their new format to make an adjustment to the weekly viewing schedule.
The change is to help ensure the beloved soap community, the soaps themselves, production, and all facets of delivering the content to the viewers is working in symmetry, and more importantly so viewers can keep up with the faster pace of the storytelling of the soaps in this format. That means there will now be two new episodes per week of All My Children and two new episodes per week of One Life to Live.
Starting next Monday May 20th, All My Children will be uploaded on Monday and Wednesday, and new episodes of One Life To Live on Tuesday and Thursday. Friday will continue to be day for the MORE show. One of the reasons related for the decision is to make it easier for online viewers to catch up when four new episodes of both soaps proved difficult for many online viewers, many of whom have already fallen behind, according to data culled from Prospect Park. To accommodate, Prospect Park will keep all aired episodes of AMC and OLTL on the free Hulu platform for now, instead of migrating the older ones on Hulu Plus, with only the 10 most recent segments were originally scheduled to be available for free.
In addition, according to Deadline.com, “With the new schedule, OLTL and AMC will now produce about 110 episodes a year instead of the planned 168, which is expected to give writers more time to catch up and also provide more time for editing and post-production. AMC is finishing a five-week shooting cycle today. It will be followed by a four-week scheule for OLTL, after which the two shows will go on an 8-episode break and resume production in August.”
Here now is the official letter from Prospect Park’s Jeff and Rich. Please read it in it’s entirety for all the reasoning behind the change, and to answer all your questions!
LETTER TO FANS FROM JEFF KWATINETZ AND RICH FRANK: ” For close to two years we have been working passionately to bring first run premium content to an online platform with the creation of brand-new versions of the two iconic series, All My Children and One Life To Live. There was no precedent for this effort- we had no history-no barometer for how our fans would respond. We always knew there would quickly be new insights into how audiences would respond to our shows and this new platform, and that our ability to adapt quickly to audience needs would ultimately determine the long-term success of the shows and our mission. This is a new medium, a new time and we have always planned to make changes quickly by listening to you, our fans and customers.
Today it is clear these shows have resonated, as many millions of views have been logged since our April 29th debut, a mere two and a half weeks ago. We’ve consistently been in the top ten shows viewed on Hulu and viewers and critics alike have told us how impressed they are with the quality of both programs. The past two weeks have been invaluable in terms of learning about how you watch and when you watch our shows on this new platform. We have gained enormous insight through our actual viewing data and our research. And our research has revealed the following:
- · In the past these shows had their vast majority of views within the first 24 hours. Instead, our shows are primarily consumed on different days then when they originally air. Primarily, fans have been binge viewing or watching on demand, and as a result, we feel we have been expecting our audience to dedicate what has turned out to be an excessive amount of time to viewing these shows. (As an example, for the substantial audience only watching on the weekends, we are currently asking them to watch five hours of programming to keep pace with our release schedule).
- ·On ABC the shows shared a large percentage of their viewers with each other. Yet, the majority of our viewers are watching one show or the other, not both, and they aren’t viewing the shows when they did before. Part of the reason for choosing between the shows may be that the largest viewing takes place either between 12PM and 1PM (when people generally can only fit one episode during lunch time) or between 5PM and 7PM (when the vast majority of competing shows are a half hour long). We are finding that asking most people to regularly watch more than a half hour per day online seems to be too much.
- ·During their ABC runs, viewers watched only 2-3 episodes on average a week and picked up with whichever day’s episode it was. Our viewers seem to primarily start with the first episode and then continue forward episode by episode. Like with primetime serialized dramas as opposed to the traditional slower pacing of daytime, people feel lost if they miss an episode. People are starting from the beginning; the shows are designed for complete viewing from episode one. Yet starting from the beginning with the amount of episodes we are releasing is asking too much for viewers who need to catch up.
The clear conclusion is that while somewhat mixed, these viewing patterns resemble more closely the typical patterns of online viewing rather than how one would watch traditional television. This leads us to believe we are posting too many episodes and making it far too challenging for viewers to keep up. When it comes to online viewing, most of us are just trying to find time to watch series comprised of 13 to 22 episodes a season-so asking viewers to assign time for over 100 episodes per show is a daunting task.
Therefore, we have chosen to revise our scheduling model beginning this Monday, May 20th by introducing two new episodes from OLTL and AMC each week- new episodes of AMC will now run on Mondays and Wednesdays, and fresh episodes of OLTL will post Tuesdays and Thursdays. MORE, our behind the scenes series, will run as a single show on Fridays. This allows us to introduce a new episode of quality television every Monday through Friday and gives the audience a chance to catch up as we continue to build awareness and excitement around these new shows. Because Hulu agrees with our findings, for the meantime they will keep all of our episodes on Hulu.com for free to give viewers the opportunity to find us and catch up.
We know our most dedicated viewers will be upset as they would probably prefer more shows to less (we personally wish there were more episodes of our favorite shows; we would love 50 episodes a year of Homeland, Mad Men or The Simpsons). We apologize to these viewers and ask them to please understand we are trying to ensure our shows succeed and not meet the fate they experienced previously. We need to devise a model that works for all viewers and follows how they want, and are actually watching, online. When it comes to online, as with all new technology, it’s adapt or fail. We feel fortunate to be an online company and to have such an opportunity to adapt. Of course, we will continue to evaluate all the data that comes in and will be vigilant about revising our strategy as needed.
We want to be clear that this will in no way impact our feverish pace of production – we will be filming new episodes through mid-June, continue editing throughout July and until we go back into production in August. It’s a frenetic schedule but all of us are up for the challenge and excited to continue to deliver great shows.
As a new venture we felt obligated to address the needs of our viewers head on and to make adjustments that we think will work for our viewers. And as always, we thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz”
So AMC and OLTL fans, what do you think of the change going from four episodes to two? Will it help in making sure everyone is caught up with all the action? What do you think of the note from Jeff and Rich? Weigh-in on your thoughts!