Seemingly lifted straight from the scripts of soap operas themselves, All My Children and One Life to Live - soaps that were going to be killed off this year - have miraculously found a second life in a new home: the internet.
US television network ABC has licensed out both the shows to Prospect Park, a production company that will produce and distribute the show. Prospect Park promises that all the shows will be just as long and just as 'high quality' online as they were on TV. Whatever that means! But really, they'll hardly skip a beat. When All My Children ends its run on TV on September 23, 2011, a Friday, it'll start off online the following Monday.
It's an interesting move, to say the least. I'm generalising here, but I don't imagine soap opera watchers to be particularly good at using the internet. It's a bold step to jump to an online only network (instead of a cable channel, let's say) because who knows if soap fans will follow them, the unfamiliarity might be too much! However! Soap fans are as die-hard as they come, so they could totally learn TV on the internet just to enjoy their afternoon tales of beautiful people in hilariously horrible problems.
And to be fair, soap operas actually made their start in radio as a form of entertainment for housewives to listen to. It sensually transitioned into TV and the audience shifted over. Now that it's making another move to a different medium, will it work? Is the secret formula of succeeding in online video production to build a small but rabid fan base who will follow you anywhere? I'd imagine smaller shows would have a better chance to succeed online because of their lower expectations and smaller budget. Bigger shows deal with unreal expectations. A niche operation, and that's what soap operas are, like All My Children and One Life to Live could very well be perfect for the internet. If it does succeed, you'll probably see more shows jump from the networks to the internet. I just wish Arrested Development could've done that. [NY Times]