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23 November 3rd, 2011 Wall Street Journal: Prospect Park’s Pitch for More Investors for OLTL & AMC’s move online!

There is a very interesting read for all soap fans and those in the industry out today from the Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network’s, Peter Kafka.  In it, Kafka details part of the overall investment pitch and the goals for Prospect Park moving One Life to Live and All My Children to the web come January, and that according to Kafka, Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz still needs some additional funding to make the project work as he has envisioned.  Here are some excerpts below!

Wall Street Journal: “Kwatinetz and his Prospect Park production firm want to take two long-running ABC soap operas – “All My Children”, which went off the air in September, and “One Life to Live”, which will end in January —  and start making new episodes that should look and sound exactly like the originals. Except you’ll need a broadband connection to watch them.  If you’re one of the people who thinks many folks no longer make a distinction between stuff they watch on TV and stuff they watch on the Web, this will make perfect sense. But Kwatinetz has yet to win over enough financial backers, which is why he’s now talking to people like me, hoping we’ll help him make his case.

Cost: An average hour of one of his soaps currently costs ABC around $160,000 to make, which is outrageously cheap for TV but fantastically expensive for the Web. But Kwatinetz says he’s not going to be able to save much money when he moves the shows online — he’ll still be paying the same writers, actors and production staff. Overall, he figures he’ll need around $80 million to produce both shows for a year, and $65 million in hand to start up production.

Audience: Both shows averaged around 2.5 million viewers an episode on ABC this year. But Kwatinetz thinks he can make a profit if he can just bring 10 percent of those eyeballs to the Web. That doesn’t seem outrageous given the commitment that some soap viewers make to their shows.

Revenues: This is the part requires the biggest leap of faith. Kwatinetz figures that if Web TV portals like Hulu can command $40 cpms for their stuff, he can, too. Particularly because his episodes will be new, not re-runs that aired days earlier. He also figures he can re-sell the shows to traditional cable down the road, and/or sell them via distributors like Apple’s iTunes.

But there’s a reason that no one is making video with TV-level budgets for the Web yet, and that’s because ad buyers aren’t paying up consistently for it. YouTube’s new plan, for instance, assumes that its channel partners will spend considerably less than $100,000 per hour to make their stuff for the site. And the stuff that runs on Hulu isn’t dependent on that advertising revenue — it’s built with TV ad dollars in mind.

Still, compared to some pitches we’ve seen win funding in the last couple years, this one seems almost conservative. But Kwatinetz still doesn’t have all of the cash he needs to go forward. “A lot of the investor pool that we go to are people with Hollywood backgrounds,” he says . “And while we feel that it’s obvious that convergence is here, we’ve met with an unusual amount of skepticism. So now we’re going out to Silicon Valley, and they seem to get it.”

Kwatinetz would like to have his shows up and running as soon as “One Life to Live” ends in mid-January, but unless he starts very soon it will be hard to hit that deadline.”

So if anyone with pockets books is out there and reading this, you may want to consider making this investment!

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  1. Tracy Peterson says:

    PLEASE bring these soaps back. I’ve boycotted ABC’s STUPID CHEW. I’ve been watching AMC since I was 10 years old. I am now 51. It sickens me that this show along with OLTL (another favorite) are being cancelled. There is still an audience. I watch a lot of stuff online and would have no problem using a computer to watch these shows. This is the 21st century and technology has taken over. A new way of watching television is a gimme. It’s gonna happen eventually so I hope that the funding is gotten. I would gladly pay to watch these shows again…Even if not all the cast members are coming back, as long as a handfull are there I am satisfied. Through the years I have seen numerous cast changes. That’s bound to happen. Keep Pine Valley and Llanview alive…
    Thanks for listening.
    Tracy Peterson

    Reply

  2. Laura Coppola says:

    This article, while informative …Is very unsettling for the fans of ALL MY CHILDREN…Since One Life to Live seems to be in a better position, at this time.

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  3. Monica says:

    This will be interesting to watch. Investors take risks, but they want to see numbers/projections. They’ve got nothing to compare (I think?). But this is the future as more TV helps to dumb down a generation with meaningless reality shows (which in a strange twist have actually become more and more scripted!) Give me a meaty daytime drama filled with emotion, suspense, and quality actors any day!

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  4. john Truisi says:

    I can see that he wants to charge the viewers to see these shows.Nobody I know is going to pay for these shows.Also,I can see that this is not going to come to fruition at all.Everyone say goodbye to all my children and one life to live.If you are not watching the young and the restless or days of our lives or bold and beautiful,start watching them now or 2 years from now there will be no soaps left because our economy is not going to get better.The name of the game is no cost television,stupid,dumb talk shows and idotic moronic reality shows.

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    david replied

    People pay to support PBS because of the quality and educational content. People buy broadband, cable, and satellite programming. Soaps are unique in offering a new episode five days a week. Personally, I find OLTL more entertaining than most prime time programming that I would pay to see it or tolerate advertising.

    Prospect Park’s Kwatinetz thinks he can make a profit if just 10% of current viewers will watch online. I don’t know what it takes to make a profit online, but I think Kwatinetz is underestimating the number of viewers who will watch online. But more importantly, the online distinction itself will be meaningless as people increasing own internet televisions where they can download content no different than if it was broadcast, except the viewer chooses the time to watch. This is the future of television.

    Furthermore, unlike existing limited broadcast markets, internet delivery of OLTL has the potential to reach millions of new viewers internationally.

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  5. Ron Klopfanstein says:

    An important factor that should also be considered, and should make this more attractive to investors, is the fact that shows seen online require viewers to watch the advertisements. At least it’s been my experience that there’s no fast-forwarding through commercials; something most of us do with everything we DVR from television.

    With a sign-in system and customers setting up user accounts it also provides valuable demographic experience much more precise that the traditional TV ratings system has ever been able to provide. Another reason this venture would be a such a good investment.

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    Monica replied

    With internet sites finding ways to secretly track our every move, what a treasure trove of demographic/trend data this is to marketers/advertisers! Maybe PP can get into the game. Of course, the problem is skirting privacy issues.

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    Ron Klopfanstein replied

    Privacy is a huge concern. However, I am pessimistic about ever having real privacy on the Internet ever again; especially with Homeland Security announcing they are going to track social media like Facebook and Twitter even more closely as a result of the “Occupy Movement” sweeping the nation.

    Maybe the best we can hope for is the possibility that the privacy we unwittingly and unwillingly surrender when we go online will help pay for some of the programming we’d like to see.

    A distressing trade-off, but realistically I think it’s the best we can hope for. Your reply sure raised an important point.

    Monica replied

    Ron Klopfanstein: If you are on the internet nothing is really ever private – the public must realize and come to terms with that whether they like it or not. PLUS the government has been monitoring our electronic movements (phone calls, etc) for years – it’s nothing new. Selling demographic/trend data to marketers/advertisers (of course with subscriber permission) would be a revenue driver for sure, but to what extent? What about selling stock in PP to the public? I can see this happen down the road (hey if a co. like LinkedIn can do it, surely PP should consider it an option). But again, PP needs to prove that it can generate income.

  6. Jim says:

    OK, so things aren’t so rosy with Prospect Park. I’m not being the bearer of negativity, but it would seem to me that Prospect Park should have waited until the funding was in place before making any announcements to bring the shows to the web. They created inaccurate expectations of what was going to happen, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

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  7. Iakovos says:

    AMC and OLTL are both Agnes Nixon creations. Perhaps in their new incarnations they become one (ONE LIFE TO LIVE FOR ALL MY CHILDREN). If money is an issue for Prospect Park, perhaps one combined show with the characters from both who, honestly, reside in proximity of one another. Heck, if anyone was left alive in Corinth, maybe a LOVING character might surface.

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    Torrey replied

    I am a fan of AMC & OLTL, but more so for OLTL and I’m sorry….but I don’t want to see the AMC characters making their way to LLanview or vice versa. Sorry, but if I saw Ryan Lavery show up in LLanview, I would be forced to turn the channel. The writing and acting for OLTL has been far superior to AMC, in my opinion, and I think trying to merge the two shows together would somehow muddy the waters for both shows. Not to mention, that still wouldn’t solve the problem of salaries for the actors, writers and crew….one big show with all those characters means that actors would have to fight each other for camera time….which would make it a painful experience for the fans.

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  8. My2Cents says:

    A ‘living’ character? Like Oprah? Since she flatly refused to help keep the soaps on TV, maybe a nice contribution would ease her consious?? Or is she too busy with her network trying to dig it out of the hole it is in?

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  9. AlistairCrane says:

    How in the world are these shows going to be up and ready to go for Janury 16?!

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    My2Cents replied

    I wonder that as well. They must have start up money, as they are offering the actors a similar if not better offer than they have now. Will they be able to maintain the show I think is where the worry comes in.
    I for one have no clue how to view this, where to view it, and have yet to see any advertising for it. Other than these blogs. Which reveal next to nothing.

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  10. C says:

    Here’s something to think about…

    If both shows averaged 2.5 million viewers daily, then if only half of those people were willing to invest in our shows, then we could totally fund the start-up costs ($65 million)and production costs for the first year ($80 million) for an investment of $116 each. Then Prospect Park would have what they need to get BOTH shows started, and then a year to get their feet on the ground. Do the math!

    I would be more than willing to pay a one-time investment of $116 to have AMC and OLTL back. The amount that we would actually have to pay could even be less, because we know that Prospect Park does have some investers (very smart people with an eye for the future). I think we should ask Prospect Park to give us a figure so that we can help come up with the needed funds.

    Perhaps as an additional incentive (in addition to having our shows back), Prospect Park could start a new tradition similar to Super Soap Weekend, and give all of us who helped make the shows possible a lifetime pass, or special chats online with our favorite stars, or parts as extras on the show, or who knows?

    Reply

    My2Cents replied

    Good article

    Reply

  11. jp says:

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that OLTL will hit online on Mon. Jan 16th. I hope PP will find the financial backing to do it. I can’t live without my One Life to Live.

    Reply

  12. rapido says:

    I think Prospect Park is preparing fans for some grim news. I doubt sufficient funds will materialize. Soap fans- time to get real, All My Children will not see the light of day again. One Life has a few more months. The end of an era. I wish I had never heard the name Prospect Park. Much ado about nothing.

    Reply

  13. lipstickcat says:

    It sounds like there are an awful lot of things in the way of making this happen! I knew it was too good to be true! We’ll be lucky if OLTL returns but it looks bad for AMC because it already ended!

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  14. david says:

    Show some Vimal and Rama Patel video to investors in India. With the right storyline for the Patels, OLTL could catch on in India.

    Reply

  15. jp says:

    I just read an article that PP will only be focusing their launch on OLTL to the online network. As an avid viewer of OLTL, I feel bad for all those AMC viewers. It just didnt seem right to me that AMC was going to get launched. I still have my fingers crossed for my beloved OLTL, but its a sad day for AMC viewers. Since I am also reading that several actors from OLTL are not signing on, perhaps some pine valley residents could move into Llanview. We have to move forward. I don’t want the history of OLTL to change completely, but actors from other soaps have crossed over before with great success. The cast of OLTL continues to deliver great performances. Keep it up, OLTL.

    Reply

  16. Tina Gray says:

    Good luck Jeff and thanks sooooo much for what you are doing. God Bless You from fans and actors alike!

    Reply

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