The Los Angeles Times has an analysis on Thursday’s earthquake through the soap industry which sent ABC Daytime’s One Life to Live and All My Children packing!
Times reporter, Meg Jones weighed in on the subject as well as interviewing ABC Daytime’s head honcho, Brian Frons, and a host of others on: soaps diminishing audience, interest from advertisers from losing their target young demographic, and the cost of putting on the soaps five days a week, and more. Here are some key excerpts below!
L.A. Times, “Once a dominant source of escapism for tens of millions of women, the genre is losing ground to scores of cable TV networks, the Internet and social media. The move also comes just as two icons of the daytime screen, Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin, are getting ready to exit the stage after decades on the air, underscoring the biggest shakeup in daytime in a generation. All the networks are grappling with what to do with a swath of the TV day that used to be a reliable and lucrative profit center but in recent years has faced increased financial pressure. A little more than a year ago, Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC moved production of All My Children to Los Angeles from New York to take advantage of lower production costs. But ratings for All My Children plummeted this season, more than 25%, forcing ABC’s hand.
“You can’t cut costs enough to make up for those losses,” said Brian Frons, president of daytime programming for the Disney ABC Television Group. “There comes a point when you can no longer justify the expense. Soap operas are an expensive way to program a network and unless you have General Hospital- or Young and the Restless-sized ratings, it’s really not a business,”
As problematic as attracting fewer viewers, the audience for soap operas has become increasingly gray, which does not portend well for growth. “ABC feels that the soap operas weren’t bringing in as many younger viewers as they have been in the past,” said Jackie Kulesza, a senior vice president at advertising buying agency Starcom. “And for their ratings to grow they are going to need younger viewers coming to the channel. Advertisers like soap operas — they have a very loyal audience. But there are more ways for advertisers to get involved with a show like The Chew than All My Children. ABC is able to monetize those advertiser integrations; that way they can get more revenue than just from the 30-second commercial spots in the show.”