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Why are soap fans so averse to online streaming?

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According to this article, L&O's lack of serialized story arcs may make it less desirable than shows that do.  That is what makes L&O's situation distinctly different from soaps, which are all about a continuing story that aims to make audiences want to tune (click) into the next episode.


"What’s more, while sitcoms such as Friends and The Office have lightly serialized story arcs (think Ross and Rachel, or Pam and Jim), Wolf deliberately created his drama to be as self-contained as possible, focusing every episode on cases and offering little to no exposition regarding the lives of its regular characters. As such, streaming-industry insiders say the original L&O might not be as valuable as a show where audiences feel compelled to click ahead to the next episode."


The sheer breadth of episode numbers, OTOH, is something resembling a similarity between soaps and the L&O series.

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I remember reading that Law and Order and shows like it (NCIS, etc) did well in reruns.. but that continuing shows (like Desperate Housewives, etc.. though Knots Landing was quite popular on TNT in the 80s and 90s on TNT) struggled.. but that during the height of the DVD era... serialized/soapy shows outsold self-contained programs by a landslide.  So I can buy streaming to be the same way.

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Another interesting aspect that the article mentions is that Dick Wolf, could also be somewhat of an obstacle (for lack of a better word) because he is fiercely independent and he owns a significant stake in the L&O universe, so they'd have to work out a deal with him.


Compare that to Irna Phillips, who has been gone for over 40 years now.  


It does make me curious about whether a T.V., like a book or movie, ever enters the public domain, and if so, under what circumstances?  For instance, does Procter & Gamble own the rights to its shows in perpetuity?


Such a fascinating and thought-provoking article.  Thanks for posting, @Faulkner.




34 minutes ago, Chris B said:

If this is true give us soaps streaming. Even if you start with Port Charles or Passions which could appeal to younger viewers. Give us something lol. 


And those are series that had shorter runs, so they should be more manageable in terms of presenting them on a streaming platform.  With ABC and NBC, I'm surprised that they're not already an option on their respective streaming services.  It wouldn't be that hard to stick them on there.

Edited by DramatistDreamer
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22 minutes ago, Khan said:

I always thought it was due to L&O and its' spinoffs still running on 430 channels (cable & OTA) everyday.


This article was talking about the original L&O series, not any of the spinoffs, which are still available on streaming platforms.  I think it mentioned maybe one OTA network showing it but I think the article was talking about the lack of streaming options, in particular.  I remember L&O used to be available on networks like USA, is this still the case?

I haven't watched much network TV in forever but there used to be a NY based network that showed it every weekend but I'm not sure whether it still does.

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You’re welcome, @DramatistDreamer. We were really beginning to face these very issues when I worked in cable, so I try to read everything about streaming I can find, only because it’s very fascinating to see how it’s evolving.


Case in point:



As we discussed previously:


With U.S. video ad spending expected to hit $50 billion by 2022, per eMarketer, there's a valid incentive for media businesses to not abandon the advertising that long has been television's bread and butter. But there's another market force also fueling this trend: concern that consumers are reaching their limit when it comes to monthly subscription fees. On average, a person subscribes to around three streaming services, according to Nielsen. The number goes up to around four for viewers interested in family movie franchises. In a market already dominated by the trio of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, that means that it could be hard for new offers from the likes of Disney and WarnerMedia to break through.

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5 hours ago, Faulkner said:

You’re welcome, @DramatistDreamer. We were really beginning to face these very issues when I worked in cable, so I try to read everything about streaming I can find, only because it’s very fascinating to see how it’s evolving.


Case in point:




Ad-supporting streaming makes a lot of sense because not every subscription-based service will work, in fact, many are likely to fail because there is only so much disposable income that consumers have to spend on streaming services and most "cord-cutters" are, by nature, on the frugal side.


Services like Crackle seem to be finding a decent mix of vintage movies from their Sony catalog, classic TV shows, as well as original series (the only original series I actually watch is StartUp, which I find to be pretty interesting, tbh).


It's a smart way for a company to make use of their back catalog.


If a OTA, antenna-supported network like BounceTV can find a way to stream some of their programs, I think that there is no excuse for some of these other companies to sit on the fence. Niche audiences abound!


If Procter & Gamble were smart, they would try to partner up again with AOL, or OATH, or whatever they're calling themselves these days...and use their streaming platform for ad-supported streaming of some of their back catalog of shows.  PGP could even run some of their commercials for their own products during ad-breaks.


The problem with the soap industry and every aspect connected with that industry is that they have shown a failure of imagination as well as a failure to innovate.  One look at today's soaps tells you everything you need to know about the state of that industry.

If only they could get out of their own way!

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17 minutes ago, Khan said:

Before you know it, it'll cost just as much to stream all your favorite shows as it does to subscribe to cable or satellite dish, if not more.


13 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

^Exactly where we’re heading.


I'm sure the cable/satellite companies are hoping for this, which is why I've always been dubious of the motives of HBOGo, Showtime and ESPN who do both. 

It is well known that ESPN has benefited mightily from the fees per subscriber (the highest on non-premium cable) that they force the cable providers to charge.  They've been one of the biggest losers in the cord-cutting era.  And the 'jury is still out' on the financial profitability of their standalone ESPN+ service.


Surely Netflix must know that a great number of their subscribers share accounts and split the cost.  No doubt, is why they feel justified in raising the fee. 

Still, it's interesting that Hulu has just lowered their subscription fee.  And with Disney, Universal and others launching their own streaming services soon, with various fee based or ad-supported models, I wonder how many shows will get pulled from Netflix, which makes me wonder whether, in a few years, we could see a price drop from Netflix, as we're seeing a price drop now from Hulu.

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