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Home Features Top of the Week Why are We Ditching Our Soaps?

Why are We Ditching Our Soaps?

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Dear Suds Buds,

Soapdom Suds Buzz contributor, CL, brought an interesting article to my attention.  According to this recent story published on Bloomberg.com (May 5, 2005) audiences are tuning out of the soaps by the droves.  Nielsen Media Research found that in the first three months of the season that began in September, CBS, ABC and NBC network soaps lost 18 percent of their female viewers ages 18 to 34.

The research director of CBS, David Poltrack, asked Neilson to double check the data.  Poltrack’s counterparts at NBC, Alan Wurtzel, and ABC, Michael Mellon, took Nielsen Media Research to task on its statistical methodology. But Nielsen told the networks it found no errors.  The numbers checked out.

Where are all the women who used watch soaps going?  The pat answer is cable and satellite.  Many are opting for talk shows over daytime drama. Many more are entering the work force.  The major exodus is a cause for major concern for network executives.  

But what I really want to know is what’s turning viewers off?  Is it the same old same old storytelling?  Is it favorite actors leaving to pursue greener pastures elsewhere?  Is it lackluster writing?  Is it not casting the right actor for the right role?  Or has the genre run its course?

Have you ever gotten so disgusted with your show that you tune out, or tune in something else?  This Bloomberg.com piece actually quotes someone reiterating the same old same old “the O.J. Trial made the industry lose viewers” scenario, and that may be true, but that was ten years ago. Why are people tuning out now?

Why do you tune out?  More importantly, what does it take to get you back?  Could soaps be doomed?  Can they be redeemed?  P&G is banking on it.  Mary Dwyer Dobbin, head of production for P&G revealed that the consumer products giant has just invested in a slick new ad agency to create an aggressive marketing campaign to get viewers to tune back in to their favorite soap.  But will a major marketing thrust do the trick? Shouldn't executives look first at what’s on the page and who is bringing the page to life before they invest oodles of dollars to promote a show?

One bright spot on the horizon.  Although soap viewer ship has also dropped for all the networks this season in the wider group of women ages 18 to 49, Nielsen Media Research reports that so far this year, All My Children’s ratings have gained.  It’s the only one of network TV's nine soap operas to show an increase this year.  Good goin’ AMC.  What’s AMC doing that the eight other soaps are not?

What would you like to see on your favorite show? What would make your show must see daytime TV day in and day out? 

Share Your Thoughts:

How have soaps impacted your life?  Do you have a fond memory to share about growing up with soaps?  What would you like to see happen on your favorite soap? Why do you think viewers are leaving the genre in droves?  Tell me on the Criticize the Critic Message Board.

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

What do YOU think?  Share your thoughts in the "Criticize the Critic" forum  on the Soapdom.com Message Boards


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Linda Marshall-Smith (QueenRuler, Soapdom.com)
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