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:

 

 

 
  • Karen C

    I give the company credit for being proactive. This is uncharted territory so they have adjust as they go along. I myself have already fallen behind AMC by 2 weeks. I am only 2 days behind on OLTL. It’s hard to get into this new habit of remembering to log on to Hulu and watch. It was so much easier to just turn on the tv and hit the dvr button. But again, it’ all about changing habits.

  • Chrisann D

    Right now I am at home during the day. But I still don’t have time to watch all of the OLTL and AMC shows. So to me this makes sense. I watched OLTL and AMC when it was on ABC and rarely missed an episode so not sure why I can’t seem to fit in all the episodes now even with them being 24 minutes. I sure hope this isn’t bad news for these shows. Change is hard and online is a change for me.

  • joshua

    There goes my dream of the return of As The World Turns

  • rob60990

    I’m not sure if this is a money thing or not. Both shows are in the top 10 most watched each day they are on. It could be a production thing as well. Maybe they just aren’t able to produce so many episodes in so little time. I’m not sure if I buy his reasoning about viewers binge viewing these shows on the weekends and not feeling so overwhelmed to watch so many episodes on top of whatever primetime shows we watch. I’ll admit I have been trying to watch both but with work plus school and primetime, it is hard. So this works out good for me but I hope it doesn’t affect the shows too much.

  • TV Gord

    Anthony, cancelling one of the soaps makes sense in a lot of ways, but it would enrage the avid soap fans (who are quite vocal online). I don’t know that they’d want to endure the annoyance of the cancelled soap’s fanbase.

  • Billy

    Thank you for the efforts you have done and for the risks you are taking. Is there a way we as viewers can contribute small amounts directly to PROSPECT PARK to show support and help in a minute way with the expenses? After all, $5 measly, contrbuted by 5 million appreciative supporters is $25 MILLION! Also what is going on with showing the episodes on a cable venue like HLN or SOAPNET or other smaller networks like ION or the CW which woulkd consider 500,000 viewers a MAJOR COUP!!

  • Jazz

    Less is more. This is uncharted territory. I have to remember to go to my computer or ipad to watch. Enjoying it so far so if this is what they need to do to keep going then this is what they should do.

  • Kevin

    I’m with Billy here — I signed up for HuluPlus thinking that was the best way to support PP — I’d buy them on iTunes
    if that brings in more cash…. I just want my shows and I’m willing to pay for them ;-)

  • Mike

    Wasn’t there a report several years ago that the many of the fans of the current soaps were older or were from poorer, rural Americans.

    That being the case you are dealing with shows that had fans who may not even have computers or access to computers. Or can’t afford subscription services.

    I have seen a few episodes of the shows, and I love them esp. All My Children. But I do not see the hip, cutting edge shows that were promised. They are more cutting edge than what the network shows are with some curse words thrown in here and there. But they have not lived up to that promise for me.

    I feel they only appeal to soap opera fans who fans who loved the shows before. That has been soaps biggest problem for years now. They aren’t attracting new viewers. And to survive they are going to have to.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    I know what it is to love a show but count me as a person who in “funding” a show only if I get a portion of the profits ;-)

    They have plenty of money to produce shows and if not shows just go away. I will save my pennies, dollars, etc for those in need.

  • Mika02

    I watch them both and I understand it will give people time to catch up. That said I wished they would do 2 1 hour long episodes for each show. There are a lot of people watching it and it seems many people signed up for Hulu plus and are dropping their subscription for the downgrade(based on Facebook and some message board comments). So I don’t think it’s that people are not tuning it or money was being lost I think one show maybe getting more play then another like more people watch AMC less watch OLTL. I think they are trying to get a true gauge of viewership. It is difficult to do if people are not watching one show because they are trying to catch on the other and the other way around. Besides regular tv makes changes on us all the time just going to have to get used to it.

  • HT

    This makes sense. I’m from the UK and I’ve been trying to keep up with Eastender and Coronation Street – 2 soaps that are shown 5 nights a week. It’s impossible to carve out 5 hours per week for me to do this. I don’t watch OLTL or AMC, but it’s clearly not an admission of failure. Online viewing is very different and can be delayed and then you can get overwhelmed and just give up. So all you people saying they are clearly failing, it’s not true – online, LESS really is more, in my experience.

  • HT

    @ kevin, you didn’t need to sign up for hulu plus. They are available on regular hulu.

  • HT

    I’m reading these reactions and it’s like you all live in a soap opera. Prospect Park have stated that production will continue thru June and begin again in August – what’s the big deal. Don’t make this bigger than it is.

  • TV Gord

    @Billy, if there were 5-million viewers, the soaps would still be on ABC.

    @HT, Prospect Park has said a number of things that have turned out not to be true, so just because they say they’ll continue through June and return in August doesn’t mean they will. There are too many reasons not to trust them.

  • ROLY

    SAD MOST VIEWERS HAVE FLED.WHAT A SHAME!

  • James

    The show aren’t flopping per say. They each crack into the top 10 4 days a week for a few hours a day at least. I’m behind on AMC. Just need to wathc OLTL’s today. Perhaps they should had launched via Mon/Wed/Fri?

    Whatever, I read most of the letter. They seem to be making quick changes. Maybe too soon. I am on PP’s side.

  • Mosaintsfan

    I think it actually seems reasonable to reduce the number of episodes (of OLTL- I wasn’t able to get into AMC as I wasn’t watching it prior to cancellation) per week. While I definitely would have watched all 4 episodes weekly of OLTL it is a big commitment of time. I just hope they don’t lose cast due to the change- the cast they have assembled is Amazing! Writing amazing as well- so far very impressive. I’m in for the long term- hope Prospect Park is as well!

  • Mosaintsfan

    PS: Folks- it is FREE!!! On HULU!! The ads are limited and all well-done, and one doesn’t have to pay a cent to watch the quality production Prospect Park has launched. Again, hope they stay with it!!

  • Mike

    How can you not expect them to lose cast members? They are cutting down to 1 hour a week. If they maintain all the stories they have going there is no way they can do them justice and play them out at a reasonable rate. You are looking at essentially a 1 hour show a week….the same par as a primetime show. They’ll have to lose someone to do it justice.

    As to those of you who keep preaching IT’S FREE. Many don’t like watching on their computer screen and pay for Hulu Plus so they can watch it on TV. So you can preach all you want. If a person doesn’t want to watch it on their computer and don’t have a way to hook their computer to their TV — it won’t matter if it is free or not.

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