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:

 

 

 
  • TV Gord

    The New York Times story says, “Prospect Park needs each episode to be seen roughly 500,000 times to break even”. If they’re cutting back, that means they’re not getting close to half-a-million.

  • Jeff

    It’s hard to believe they aren’t hitting 500,000 views. But, who knows. It could also be just to increase profits.

    I always said ABC should have alternated the 2 shows rather than cancel them anyway. But, that would have still been 2.5 hours a week.

    The good news, they are going to run 52 weeks now instead of 42 weeks a year, which was a concern I had about losing momentum. Let’s be happy they are on, rather than all the doomsday talk. Whatever happens, happens, but enjoy them here and now.

  • Rob R

    It is hard to interpret this news. But it isn’t good news. It might be neutral news. What is very interesting here is that viewers feel like they cannot miss an episode and are having trouble keeping up. In the network days, if they missed an episode, they just let it go and watched the next one, because it was too much trouble to find the replay. But here, there is no trouble at all. It is an interesting observation. They can tell how far behind certain viewers must be. I have never really watched AMC or OLTL, but I watched the first week for both, and I was very impressed. Good looking; no perceivable cutbacks in production values. Had I been a regular viewer of these shows, I would have been thrilled. I hope this works out and they are able to increase the frequency again later.

  • James Michael

    No problem for me. I have definitely been a binge Sunday afternoon watcher of OLTL. Watching a weeks worth in under 2 hours was great! Enjoyed the first 2 episodes of AMC but due to busy schedule and life outside of the house, who has time?? Availability to watch online does make it difficult to measure. Their reasoning makes sense. Now that the content will be free for some time, they’ll see if the counts continue to rise for older episodes.

    Not ready to predict doom after 3 weeks. Seems to me if I binge watch on Sunday now, it’s very likely I will fill the second hour watching AMC. GH will be the one during the evenings. 2 hours on Sunday and less than an hour each night. Look how different our viewing habits are now. Once upon a time, if you’re weren’t there between 12:30 – 4pm, you missed it.

    Lots of us would love to watch for 3 1/2 hours a day, available time is just too limited.

  • Delphine

    I’m a long time, over 40 year viewer and I’m just thrilled with the new format and the brisk pace of the shows. I’m so grateful to have the shows back with so many of the beloved characters and I’m enjoying the new characters too. If PP believes this move will improve the chances that these shows will succeed, than I’m all for it and very supportive.

  • Mike

    I know that Prospect Park is supposed to be a successful company outside this venture, but they seem with the two soaps to just make rash decisions.

    They suddenly dropped the soaps. Then just as suddenly out of nowhere they decide to launch them again. For months and months they have no problems with what GH is doing with the OLTL characters. Then all of a sudden they file a lawsuit citing things that happened many months before the lawsuit.

    And now after just a few weeks data they rush to cut the order of episodes.

    I just think that this is another rash decision. I think they should have waited.

  • gin9rrsnap

    I had no problem keeping up – I was watching 5 hours a week of OLTL/abc – they already took away 3 hours of the show and b/c of that I ADDED AMC which I didn’t watch before. I think it’s silly to cater to those who binge watch (their choice) over the weekend, but apparently the majority do which surprises me. I would expect having 24 hours to watch 24 to 50 minutes of a show(s) you choose to watch, wouldn’t be a problem at all, on whatever device you are comfortable with. Is it that they are expecting both shows to succeed at the same pace or this whole deal falls apart?

  • Debkey

    I appreciate their taking the time to explain where they are coming from. I’ve been cramming episodes on the weekend, and I think I will appreciate the slower pace. It seems right for the medium.

    I’m just glad both shows are back!

  • bizzarr1000

    i say put them on once aweek for an hour to save money

  • Joseph

    Prospect Park should also have pitched the revivals of “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” in first-run syndication to local TV stations.

    I think there would be a lot of TV stations who would be interested in picking-up these two shows for their daytime schedules.

    That also probably would have been the only way to insure the shows’ long-term survival.

  • Ivy

    I don’t have hulu plus and I STILL watch the show on my flat screen. All you need is an HDMI cable connected between your laptop and the flat screen and viola…OLTL and AMC in HD on my TV.

  • jonboyelk

    Back in the 60s ground breaking nighttime soap Peyton Place aired two, then three, nights a week and had a successful five year run. Don’t see why it can’t work for these two shows. Can’t speak for AMC but I think OL has a much more polished look than it did on ABC.

  • bizzarr1000

    joseph you would think like ion would be a great spot een if it was once a week

  • bizzarr1000

    i bet they could find a tv network pp cable or like mynetwork tv or cw daytime hell even fox ion maybe the networks wont take on the shows without big names

  • Mike

    Everyone keeps saying they can’t believe some network doesn’t pick these shows up. I don’t get it.

    Prospect Park did shop the shows around last year. Every cable network had the opportunity to pick them up from ABC just like Prospect Park did.

    Do you not think that if some network wanted them they would have got them? I know it was reported that several of the cable networks turned them down last year.

    Now it is reported that in September Prospect Park can put them on a cable network, but this is surely not going to help their cause.

    As to the thing about whether this can work or not. I don’t think airing them 2 days a week is a bad thing. It just should have been decided before so many shows have been filmed. It was just reported that AMC has stuff filmed that was to air the next 2 weeks — well that was going to play out over 4 episodes a week. So that is at least 8 episodes intened to play in 2 weeks but will now play out over 2 months.

    Peyton Place survived because even in that day and time stories played out at a decent pace and were written for that. These stories aren’t.

    In this day and age people want fast. I just think PP made a mistake doing it this way. Later they can adapt to the schedule but how many people are going to get bored over the next two months when things are so slow at playing out.

    Plus keeping with the Peyton Place analogy. It had a very small cast of characters. Neither OLTL or AMC do. It is going to be hard to feature that many characters the way fans want in 2 thirty minute episodes a week. Some are going to have be way underused or just disappear altogether.

  • glen

    Maybe this is just as they say, they are trying to adjust to viewing habits in unchartered territory. The shows have been on for 3 weeks and that’s not long enough to really decide if they are hits or flops or for them to be in trouble. I guess online has different viewing habits where people view shows in marathons. One thing though, they mention that viewers often have to watch 5 hours on the weekends to stay current. That’s only if they watch both soaps as well as the weekly recap shows. For me in Canada, it will be interesting to see how FX Canada handles this. Maybe they’ll just have a 12 noon timeslot, call it “Decadent Daytime Soaps” and then alternate the two soaps in that timeslot. Maybe an ‘encore presentation’ of the show in the 12:30 timeslot?

  • gerry

    i think that if they can get them placed on a cable network, the viewership will go up. many people don’t want to or can’t pay for hulu plus. many people do not know how or do not want to hook up and HDMI to their computer/t and don’t like watching on a computer. i think that’s the issue.

    from posts i’ve read, it seems like many are just finding it all too complicated. if it was on a tv channel they could just turn on, they’d watch. and since pp is actually producing and a cable net would only be showing produced material at a fee, v production costs, i think its quite reasonable. so hopefully that happens in sept.

    at first i was a bit leery of this announcement. but PP is in uncharted waters here. they may need to play with the model a bit before it succeeds. but they’ve come this far with it, i don’t see them throwing it all away so soon.

  • Mike

    I think the biggest problem they are going to have with getting a TV channel to take them now is that TV shows depend on the daily viewers or at least live plus 1.

    Even if they can promise a certain number of viewers to the station they are still going to have to try to sell that to advertisers. And all advertisers are going to see is that Prospect Park had to cut the number of episodes because people were binge viewing instead of watching daily.

    Plus as long as the Hulu deal is in place, it was reported somewhere that the episodes that would air on TV would be delayed. The new ones would appear first online and then delayed a few days to cable.

    I am just skeptical about them working out some kind of TV deal here. Especially after this.

  • jonboyelk

    @Mike Which is why I couldn’t understand why OL was so adament about having the three characters who went on to GH. With the show (then) pared down to less than a half hour four days a week why did they feel the need to have such a large cast? A more compact cast (ala Peyton), tighter stories and it could work.

  • DOOLfan

    And it begins. They’re going to cut the already short episodes from four, to two, to one, to none. PP makes it sound like they don’t want to overwhelm the fans by posting too many episodes. BS! I still watch everyday, sometimes I watch episodes twice.

© 2014 Tribune Digital Ventures