About two years ago, a number of people protested outside Lincoln Center as ABC was about to start its upfront prime-time programming presentation to national advertising and media agency executives.
Vibrant fans were pissed off about ABC cancelling its expensive -- and one would guess money-losing -- daytime soaps "All My Children" and "One Life to Live."
Now these two soaps are about to start up again online via production company Prospect Park. On ABC, the two series were regularly getting an average 3 million viewers per episode. Prospect Park hopes for 500,000 viewers per episode, which would make the shows profitable because production costs are now lower.
The good news is that, unlike other shows that debut online -- mostly of the 4-6 minute variety -- three two former ABC soaps have brand-name recognition. That's a big deal in these days of many TV choices. But The Hollywood Reporterreports that Prospect Park didn’t want to just leave it at that -- it wanted to advertise on TV because that's where the soap opera consumers are.
The ads would have been on ABC and other networks that run daytime programming. But for one reason or another the network rejected the ads -- even though it is a profit participant in the shows. Why? Hard to say. I'm guessing ABC is thinking low expectations – plus, why confuse the viewing public by asking people to turn off their TV sets and run to their iPads?
That goes to show the importance of promotion of shows -- on television. For sure, the Internet is a vast place. And while major hundred-million-dollar campaigns aren't always necessary to tell people about Google or Facebook, it can be a different story for individual bits of content.
Some potential consumers (older?) might not be able to figure out this whole process. According to one writer: "Some longtime fans of the shows who are not accustomed to online viewing may be confused about how to find new episodes online."
Amazing. Even with big-brand appeal and a supposedly eager public, Prospect Park may be having a hard time recruiting long-time soap opera brand-centric TV viewers.
All of which points to problems that original online TV shows will continue to have: letting consumers know when and where to tune in, as well as how much they might need to pay.