Episode Orders Reduced for 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live'

Categories: Daytime and Soap Opera TV Ratings

Written By

May 16th, 2013

one life to live

 

The annual episode orders for online soaps All My Children and One Life To Live from have been reduced from 168 to 110, according to Deadline. New episodes of All My Children will now be made available on Mondays and Wednesdays, while new episodes of One Life To Live will be released on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Prospect Park co-founders Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz released the following letter, explaining the reasons for the change:

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.

Sincerely
Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz:

 

 

 
  • RJ

    Essentially: nobody cares these two shows returned.

  • Hy

    Hey

  • TV Gord

    As some of us predicted, they aren’t generating enough revenues to justify their existence. They bit off more than they could chew.

  • Oliver

    Yeah, they’re clearly flopping and they’re trying to cut costs. Sad but not unexpected.

  • Lisa

    On another forum, some posters are praising Prospect Park for its supposed “transparency” in the letter they sent out. I don’t think they’re being totally forthcoming. I take this change as a sign that the shows are potentially in real trouble, though I hope they pull through.

    Slowing down the schedule actually works for me, though. I haven’t gotten around to watching all of the episodes yet and didn’t know when I could catch up, if at all. Part of this is due to the fact that I despise watching videos on the computer, and I think part of it is because the episodes are TOO available. They’re no longer “special,” and I don’t have any special impetus to watch them right away.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    Are the individual episodes 30 minutes, 40 minutes or 60 minutes?

  • DenverDean

    @AP075 – the episodes seem to run about 25 minutes – excluding commercials. I think this is a good move. It was tough for them to launch to shows at once with an untested model. At least they aren’t giving up. I’d rather that they focus on a quality product than producing subpar work – that would defeat the purpose.

  • MM

    Please people lets not make it up!
    I get it!
    I get up in the morning and watch both,AMC & OLTL.
    I get most people can’t do that because of work.
    I work at home so I can.
    Their research shows most can only watch 1 episode during lunch hour or after work 5pm.
    Then try to catch up,that is to much for many.
    I suspect in conjunction with their data people must be complaing slow the number of episodes.

    I don’t like this at all! Again,I work at home.
    So,I do get most aren’t like me and can watch the full hour a day.
    They also say they consistently rank in the top 10 most watched shows online.
    We will have to see how this plays out.

    Especially now that Nielsen has just announced online viewing will count like regular tv viewing,apparently a pilot program is underway as we speak and full monitoring will role out later this year!

  • TV Gord

    The episodes run 24 minutes. In Canada, where they air on TV, FX Canada is taking a loss, because other shows are shorter and have room for more commercials/promos.

    Incidentally, I’m sure FX Canada is scrambling today. They committed to airing the shows at noon and 12:30 eastern, and now they find out–on the eve of a long weekend here–that they have an extra half-hour to fill four days a week.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    Thanks DD,

    That confuses me though.
    Does that mean they are only producing two 25 minute episodes a week??
    That does not seem like very much at all.

  • MM

    @AP076
    They will produce 2 episodes of AMC Mondays & Wednesdays
    2 episodes of OLTL on Tuesdays & Thursdays
    And the regular re-cap show on Fridays!

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    @MM

    As ever I don’t think that Nielsen measures it will have any meaning. From what I understand Nielsen will measure on-line viewership of the Nielsen households and I think they will be a separate measurement.

    Hulu is probably giving them real data on the number of people that are watching the episodes.

  • JR35

    As a viewer of both shows, I like that we can watch the shows at our convenience- but, I like to keep up with the daily postings- which has been difficult. People, by nature, like being pessimistic, so let’s just see how it goes.

  • MM

    Oh,I see thank you @AP076
    Still,they must be making money.
    There are commercials.
    How are they paying the actors and the crew?
    Doesn’t the commercials help cover that?

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    I am so thick today:

    So originally AMC aired a 25 minute episode: Monday-Thursday
    AND
    OLTL aired a 25 minute episode: Monday-Thursday

    But now it will be:
    AMC airing a 25 minute episode Monday
    OLTL airing a 25 minute episode Tuesday
    AMC airing a 25 minute episode Wednesday
    OlTL airing a 25 minute episode Thursday

  • TV Gord

    Commercials online bring in much less money than they do on TV (just as radio does). That’s likely to change over time, but it hasn’t changed yet.

  • TV Gord

    Close, Anthony. Originally, the shows were 27 minutes each, but they quickly dropped to 24 minutes each, which is where they are now.

  • MM

    Thanks TV Gord!

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    Thanks to you all.
    I don’t watch myself but I have friends who have mentioned they do.

    Frankly that does not seem like much to be producing.
    Even understanding as they wrote above that fans used to miss an episode of two a week, I would still think the fans would be up for the schedule they had.

    This leaves the next obvious question, and could be opening a can of worms, but would the company have done better to bring only one of the series’ into production? If they could have done it over do you think they only would have done one?

    From a production standpoint it seems like only having done one would have been cheaper but now they seem to be in for a penny, in for a pound, since getting rid of one in favor of the other would be a public releations nightmare.

    Any thoughts?

  • cc

    Well, I hope it works out and more shows are scheduled. 2 shows a week, I would think would lose more viewers then gain more.

    It’s turned out to be a great concept and I am enjoying it. Like others I look forward to watching in the morning with a cup of coffee.

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