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DramatistDreamer

Why are soap fans so averse to online streaming?

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20 hours ago, Faulkner said:

TV Cord-Cutting Accelerating at Much Faster Pace Than Predicted

 

I cut the cord almost 8 years ago and while it has been challenging, I definitely don't have any regrets.  

 

@Khan An antenna is a viable option for many people (if you live in an apartment building, it gets a bit more tricky).  The technology is basically the same as its been for 100 years with some updates but the antennas now transmit faster than cable and streaming for the local channels that you get.  Also, there are more than a handful of digital substations that you cannot get on cable or streaming (GetTV, Bounce, etc.)

 

19 hours ago, SteelCity said:

Here's a great question: How many on this board watch the online only soaps that presently available?

 

The Bay? Any of them? That's an important part of this discussion.

 

I have sporadically tried watching these shows.  Even though the production values of these indie soaps being streamed has vastly improved, I still find a lot of the content (scripts, direction, some of the performances) somewhat lacking.  I can't put my finger on it, but there are some elements and nuances that are still missing for me.

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5 hours ago, Chris B said:

The problem with soaps always seems to be timing. NBC tried a website before it’s time and so did CBS with the ATWT/Y&R spin off. Then you had Proctor and Gamble streaming their shows, the great Prospect Park reboots and you could even include Passions on DirecTV. All of those were done before streaming was popular and more people had accept to internet speeds to make it viable. 

 

Just look at Prospect Park, those soaps always ranked among the top rated shows in Hulu and the show also did well on OWN. Had they had the funding to continue I think they’d be big hits in the streaming age today. Also I do think fans would watch classic soaps streaming if they had accept to them. It amazes me Proctor and Gamble won’t just take what they put on AOL and release it to Amazon. Throw in ATWT and GL and you can’t convince me people wouldn’t watch it. SOAPnet as a network was very successful and found great success with Ryan’s Hope and Another World. There’s no reason to believe the same can’t happen for other soaps in the streaming age. 

 

The Prospect Park soaps, in particular, did well because even though they were still launched slightly ahead of their time, they were launched on a streaming platform that had great infrastructure and was emerging as a highly recognizable name.  For the most part, Hulu, even back then had brand recognition. Hulu had already started building a strong sense of trust among an audience.  Hulu itself was the invention of a coalition built by the networks and have the support of network television corporations, unlike Netflix which continues to be seen as an interloper (if not an outright threat) in the entertainment ecosystem.

 

Had P&G/PGP tried launching a similar model with, perhaps their longest two running soaps, Guiding Light and As The World Turns, particularly at this time, PGP and those two shows likely would've had less skeptics to deal with than the Prospect Park soaps and might have had an easier time building their audience.  

 

To add more to what @SteelCity was talking about, soap fans seem very much to be married to brand recognition and brand loyalty.  The soaps and their production companies themselves fostered this mindset over decades--it's how they literally sold soap.  By and large, that attitude has remained and soap fans are very staunchly wedded to brands that they grew up with, recognize and have memories of using and enjoying.  In the rest of the populations, these attitudes seem to have changed faster-- the embrace of what's new and different, more experimentation.  I've found that many (again, not all) soap fans have been reluctant, if not slow, to embrace the new.  Many soap fans have memories attached to these brands, including their television programs and frankly, soap fans are not alone in this-- which is why so many of these rebooted series of long ago canceled shows (One Day At A Time, Full House, the upcoming Murphy Brown, even Roseanne-for better or worse) are having such an impact at this time.

Edited by DramatistDreamer

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8 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

I cut the cord almost 8 years ago and while it has been challenging, I definitely don't have any regrets.  

 

@Khan An antenna is a viable option for many people (if you live in an apartment building, it gets a bit more tricky).  The technology is basically the same as its been for 100 years with some updates but the antennas now transmit faster than cable and streaming for the local channels that you get.  Also, there are more than a handful of digital substations that you cannot get on cable or streaming (GetTV, Bounce, etc.)

 

 

I have sporadically tried watching these shows.  Even though the production values of these indie soaps being streamed has vastly improved, I still find a lot of the content (scripts, direction, some of the performances) somewhat lacking.  I can't put my finger on it, but there are some elements and nuances that are still missing for me.

 

It’s taken years for me to take them seriously but with the current soaps being so bad I’ve finally started some of the web soaps. Ladies of the Lake was patchy but enjoyable over both seasons. The biggest problem is it’s too short. 3 half hour episodes is not a season. With The Bay I just finished the first two seasons on Amazon which were just recut collections of the web show and it was pretty bad. The production value is good but the stories made no sense since they started so late in the series run and didn’t use flashbacks of previous seasons to explain relationships or what was happening. I also feel like The Bay is too dark. Every storyline is a murder or a rape. I need brightness on a soap. Now I will say season 3 (the first Amazon produced season) is a million times better. The story is more focused and it’s not as dark. 

 

In general I’d love to be hooked on the original web soaps but the production isn’t quite at the level I’d want just yet. 

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I imagine a lot of longtime viewers may feel like they wasted time investing in these shows, especially after how callously they were treated in the last 20-30 years. They felt cheated so they are trying to reconcile that in some way. Maybe they are hoping for some long delayed justice that will never come.

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I've cut out on soaps when I felt that the writing just wasn't good.  I'm not going to waste my time out of some misplaced sense of loyalty when the shows haven't earned it.

That goes for any websoaps too.  I've watched low budget fare online (particularly comedies) that was good and entertaining, so I don't care how high or low the production values are, if the writing is poor, even talented actors can't cover that and I will turn away from that.

 

Something else that I just thought of with soaps on the web--they're not just competing with other soaps as they (mostly) did in their heyday, on the networks.  Today's soaps on the web are competing against everything else on the web. 

And there is such an abundance of entertainment on the web that if a program doesn't either stand out above everything else, or be so excellent that they can't be ignored-- then they will struggle to capture an audience. 

Korean soaps and telenovelas have managed to find audiences by offering what no other genre can offer.  Have American online soaps managed to do this?  Do daytime dramas even know how to do this anymore?

Edited by DramatistDreamer

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2 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

I've cut out on soaps when I felt that the writing just wasn't good.  I'm not going to waste my time out of some misplaced sense of loyalty when the shows haven't earned it.

That goes for any websoaps too.  I've watched low budget fare online (particularly comedies) that was good and entertaining, so I don't care how high or low the production values are, if the writing is poor, even talented actors can't cover that and I will turn away from that.

 

Yep.

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Walmart is launching a streaming service. I’m still skeptical about the viability of classic soaps on streaming with all of the potential barriers, shifting audience tastes, and rights issues, but this section of the THR article gave me some food for thought.

 

...

More challenging for Walmart would be bulking up on the licensed programming needed to drive customers to a new platform, something that has become harder since existing streaming players, especially Hulu, have already gobbled up SVOD rights to the most in-demand library fare. But Walmart is 
expected to go after shows with appeal to Middle America — where its retail stores are most popular — which could give it an advantage in the crowded streaming market.

"Its customer base likely comprises the last group of potential streaming users who haven't yet chosen a service," notes Pachter. "Walmart likely believes it can attract these customers as they see greater penetration of smart TVs or smart devices in Walmart customer households, and they may be right."

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I get my continuing drama fix with other shows now, from Netflix to network.  Nothing will replace the traditional soap storytelling model.

 

What Prospect Park was attempting was the best shot at getting daytime soaps into a new market and format, because they had the fan base to support a transition and maintained a daily structure.  It had production values, talent, and bts people that knew how to produce “daytime”.  Unless SONY were to try something with DAYS and Y&R, these last four are the end of the line.

 

Why would I watch something like The Bay, when I can stream Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, or Walking Dead or Handmaids Tale or Grey’s Anatomy (which I don’t even enjoy, but it is a soap and it’s been on the air for over a decade) or Dear White People?  All offer diverse storytelling with good acting, writing and continuing storylines and characters.  Which daytime does not at this point.

 

 

Edited by titan1978

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I know Ken Corday was starting an online web presence.. and I think the Ladies of the Lake was the first content from that... so I'm wondering if he's getting all the kinks worked out so that if NBC does decide to drop Days.. it can go on airing online on his platform?

 

I also think Walmart is smart to appeal to Middle America since Netflix has totally shifted from a more diverse content that populated their channel in the early years (though I'm tempted to add Netflix again if the Dolly Parton deal does happen).

 

I have antenna only, but I don't get CBS.. but that is just as well since I don't like anything that airs on that channel anyway (their daytime schedule is the pits and all of their comedies/dramas are skewed for old people.. and are procedurals.. boring lol)

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57 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

I get my continuing drama fix with other shows now, from Netflix to network.  Nothing will replace the traditional soap storytelling model.

 

What Prospect Park was attempting was the best shot at getting daytime soaps into a new market and format, because they had the fan base to support a transition and maintained a daily structure.  It had production values, talent, and bts people that knew how to produce “daytime”.  Unless SONY were to try something with DAYS and Y&R, these last four are the end of the line.

 

Why would I watch something like The Bay, when I can stream Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, or Walking Dead or Handmaids Tale or Grey’s Anatomy (which I don’t even enjoy, but it is a soap and it’s been on the air for over a decade) or Dear White People?  All offer diverse storytelling with good acting, writing and continuing storylines and characters.  Which daytime does not at this point.

 

That is a very critical point that you raised.  It cuts to the heart of why daytime dramas have been failing for the past 15+ years. 

The soaps still cling to the same old AF social mores, essentially taking teeny tiny baby steps forward only when pushed or desperate or when they're practically off the air. 

When they do write "groundbreaking" stories, it is couched in poor predictable, yet still timid storytelling.  It's as if they want the stories to fail so that they can claim "Hey guys, well, we tried!"

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1 hour ago, Faulkner said:

Walmart is launching a streaming service. I’m still skeptical about the viability of classic soaps on streaming with all of the potential barriers, shifting audience tastes, and rights issues, but this section of the THR article gave me some food for thought.

 

Other than music rights (and plain old obstinate thinking), what are the other potential barriers to streaming classic soaps?

AcornTV could present a model for a streaming site geared toward a niche audience. At this point, I'm not prepared to predict what could or couldn't work, not in the era where we now have VHS to DVD converters and 3-D printers.  

It's overwhelming if you only consider soap streaming by sheer volume but if there were curated episode sets, which get gradually built upon, similar to what SoapClassics was doing, the possibilities become a lot more manageable.  

 

At this point, I'm not so skeptical about classic soaps finding an audience as I am about soap production companies like PGP putting the time and effort into building a platform that people can believe in--one that's not going to fade away in a few months like anything else soap-related in the past.

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The younger set are not watching soaps no matter where they're aired.  Online, on TV Cable Networks, or traditional networks.  They're not watching.  It's why the 25-54 or whatever demographic is the best for every soap these days.  They're dying off, and the kids are playing Fortnight and aren't interested in any Television.  People always talk about Cable destroying soaps and too many choices - gaming is also another reason of soaps being destroyed, especially now.  Kids aren't watching soaps with their Moms, and Grandmothers the way we did in the Summer or after school.  Their heads are buried in XBox, Playstation and their Tablets.  That's the real end of us.  I'm Gay but I see my sisters and my neices and nephews let their kids spend 20 hours a day on their phones and tablets and even at the Dinner table if there even is one.  Their kids take their phones and tablets and headsets to the bathroom when they have to pee.  It's not the same as when we grew up.  Born in 70 here.  The best video game I had was an Atari and I did that for like 1 hour a day...not enough to keep my interest. 

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54 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

Other than music rights (and plain old obstinate thinking), what are the other potential barriers to streaming classic soaps?

AcornTV could present a model for a streaming site geared toward a niche audience. At this point, I'm not prepared to predict what could or couldn't work, not in the era where we now have VHS to DVD converters and 3-D printers.  

It's overwhelming if you only consider soap streaming by sheer volume but if there were curated episode sets, which get gradually built upon, similar to what SoapClassics was doing, the possibilities become a lot more manageable.  

 

At this point, I'm not so skeptical about classic soaps finding an audience as I am about soap production companies like PGP putting the time and effort into building a platform that people can believe in--one that's not going to fade away in a few months like anything else soap-related in the past.

A lot of expense for not a lot of return given the volume. A lot of primetime series that were far more popular than soaps in their heydays haven’t been streaming for that very reason, but that has been slowly changing. I know Dark Shadows is on Amazon Prime now, but I think it’s an unusual cult show that had multiple lives in reruns.

 

Not saying that one day we won’t wake up to news that 1970s Y&R is available on some new streaming service. I’m just not ready to make that bet. Who knows what the future will hold, of course?

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