Prospect Park Cuts New Episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live to Two a Week!






Prospect Park has issued a press release with lots of talk about research and online viewer habits (I will post it below), but to cut to the chase—or chase to the cut—the production company has decided to take new episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live down from four-a-week to two. See full release below:

For close to two years we have been working passionately to bring first run premium content to an online platform with the creation of brand-new versions of the two iconic series, All My Children and One Life To Live. There was no precedent for this effort- we had no history-no barometer for how our fans would respond. We always knew there would quickly be new insights into how audiences would respond to our shows and this new platform, and that our ability to adapt quickly to audience needs would ultimately determine the long-term success of the shows and our mission. This is a new medium, a new time and we have always planned to make changes quickly by listening to you, our fans and customers.

Today it is clear these shows have resonated, as many millions of views have been logged since our April 29th debut, a mere two and a half weeks ago. We’ve consistently been in the top ten shows viewed on Hulu and viewers and critics alike have told us how impressed they are with the quality of both programs. The past two weeks have been invaluable in terms of learning about how you watch and when you watch our shows on this new platform. We have gained enormous insight through our actual viewing data and our research. And our research has revealed the following:

·         In the past these shows had their vast majority of views within the first 24 hours. Instead, our shows are primarily consumed on different days then when they originally air. Primarily, fans have been binge viewing or watching on demand, and as a result, we feel we have been expecting our audience to dedicate what has turned out to be an excessive amount of time to viewing these shows. (As an example, for the substantial audience only watching on the weekends, we are currently asking them to watch five hours of programming to keep pace with our release schedule).

·         On ABC the shows shared a large percentage of their viewers with each other. Yet, the majority of our viewers are watching one show or the other, not both, and they aren’t viewing the shows when they did before. Part of the reason for choosing between the shows may be that the largest viewing takes place either between 12PM and 1PM (when people generally can only fit one episode during lunch time) or between 5PM and 7PM (when the vast majority of competing shows are a half hour long). We are finding that asking most people to regularly watch more than a half hour per day online seems to be too much.

·         During their ABC runs, viewers watched only 2-3 episodes on average a week and picked up with whichever day’s episode it was. Our viewers seem to primarily start with the first episode and then continue forward episode by episode. Like with primetime serialized dramas as opposed to the traditional slower pacing of daytime, people feel lost if they miss an episode. People are starting from the beginning; the shows are designed for complete viewing from episode one. Yet starting from the beginning with the amount of episodes we are releasing is asking too much for viewers who need to catch up.

The clear conclusion is that while somewhat mixed, these viewing patterns resemble more closely the typical patterns of online viewing rather than how one would watch traditional television. This leads us to believe we are posting too many episodes and making it far too challenging for viewers to keep up. When it comes to online viewing, most of us are just trying to find time to watch series comprised of 13 to 22 episodes a season-so asking viewers to assign time for over 100 episodes per show is a daunting task.

Therefore, we have chosen to revise our scheduling model beginning this Monday, May 20th by introducing two new episodes from OLTL and AMC each week- new episodes of AMC will now run on Mondays and Wednesdays, and fresh episodes of OLTL will post Tuesdays and Thursdays. MORE, our behind the scenes series, will run as a single show on Fridays. This allows us to introduce a new episode of quality television every Monday through Friday and gives the audience a chance to catch up as we continue to build awareness and excitement around these new shows.   Because Hulu agrees with our findings, for the meantime they will keep all of our episodes on Hulu.com for free to give viewers the opportunity to find us and catch up.

We know our most dedicated viewers will be upset as they would probably prefer more shows to less (we personally wish there were more episodes of our favorite shows; we would love 50 episodes a year of Homeland, Mad Men or The Simpsons). We apologize to these viewers and ask them to please understand we are trying to ensure our shows succeed and not meet the fate they experienced previously. We need to devise a model that works for all viewers and follows how they want, and are actually watching, online. When it comes to online, as with all new technology, it’s adapt or fail.  We feel fortunate to be an online company and to have such an opportunity to adapt. Of course, we will continue to evaluate all the data that comes in and will be vigilant about revising our strategy as needed.

We want to be clear that this will in no way impact our feverish pace of production - we will be filming new episodes through mid-June, continue editing throughout July and until we go back into production in August. It’s a frenetic schedule but all of us are up for the challenge and excited to continue to deliver great shows.

As a new venture we felt obligated to address the needs of our viewers head on and to make adjustments that we think will work for our viewers. And as always, we thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Sincerely

Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz

Okay, I am sure this is about to cause pandelirium (When pandemonium meets delirium) here in the DC comments and across the interwebs, but this time around I am going to wait before I rush to judgement. PP managed to get these soaps back on the air — when many thought it was impossible. If they have to tinker with things a bit, I am not gonna start dousing them with haterade.

I've enjoyed the relaunches of both soaps, for the most part, and will continue to support them as they find their way. I'm sure when Mama Irna Phillips took The Guiding Light from radio to TV there were tons of hiccups. We'll get through this, soap nuts! 


Comments

Member since:
23 July 2008
Last activity:
22 weeks 6 days

Why don't the majority of you thankless complainers STFU and be grateful your shows are back at all. Give it a chance, wait and see. Jesus F. Christ!

Member since:
22 October 2010
Last activity:
5 days 12 hours

Appleridge, you made me hysterical calling me goosy loosy.

Member since:
20 August 2011
Last activity:
14 weeks 5 days

appleridge wrote:
LisaM wrote:
appleridge wrote:
I bet its not money but the schedule. Its taking longer to produce the episodes then they anticipated

Its about money. Why would it take longer to produce these half hour shows? and frankly its not like they are the best quality plus they have experience producing hourly primetime shows so they knew what they were dealing with.

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BTS folk at the shows have even said via twitter and FB that the pace isnt what they wanted with production. So thats defintley a factor.

Eh this is about money or lack there of.

mfarris70's picture
Member since:
21 December 2012
Last activity:
4 weeks 4 days

I'm cribbing an old lawyer joke here-- How do you know when a television executive is lying? His mouth is moving. If things were going well they would be making more episodes, not less.

Let's make one thing clear-- the fans are thrilled the shows are back. We just want them to be the best that they can be. Isn't that what we're all hear to talk about?

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
4 hours 12 min

Well If U want the the best they can be then this adjustment should be welcomed and the shows wont have to pull daily 16-18 hour days to shoot episodes.

I suspect fans want Quality over quanity

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
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1 hour 1 min

appleridge wrote:
BTS folk at the shows have even said via twitter and FB that the pace isnt what they wanted with production. So thats defintley a factor.

I go back to the question I asked earlier: then why aren't they changing the production schedule?

Member since:
22 October 2010
Last activity:
5 days 12 hours

Gord, you know and I know why they are changing. I should have listened to you in the first place. I said it some where else in recent weeks. I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO MY FRIEND GORD. I knew you werent going there. It should have been enough for me.

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
4 hours 12 min

TV Gord wrote:
appleridge wrote:
BTS folk at the shows have even said via twitter and FB that the pace isnt what they wanted with production. So thats defintley a factor.

I go back to the question I asked earlier: then why aren't they changing the production schedule?

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I think the prod has more to do with the editing, pist production

brettyboy's picture
Member since:
28 July 2012
Last activity:
9 hours 18 min

I don't know what to think. I must admit, as I watch all 4 televised soaps, watching OLTL and AMC as well has been a struggle, I've made time because I love them so. I am disappointed but as long as they stay on I don't mind, I just hope this isn't the beginning of the end as is being speculated.

Cyberologist's picture
Member since:
27 December 2007
Last activity:
2 days 2 hours

Wow this is quick they haven't been on a month have they? I was hoping they'd give them a little longer to gel I guess not.

liason4real's picture
Member since:
10 May 2008
Last activity:
1 day 16 min

I'm going to just roll with the new OLTL schedule and hopefully get a chance to watch AMC.

liason4real's picture
Member since:
10 May 2008
Last activity:
1 day 16 min

Hmmmm. If PP ends up shutting down AMC & OLTL, I wonder how long it will take before we see RH, ME and KA's new GH characters turn out to really be Todd, John and Starr? Wink

Member since:
8 February 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 3 days

I'm so disappointed. We get in on FX here in Canada so we still can see it on t.v.

It seems to me that fewer people will watch on this reduced schedule.

I feel badly for the actors.

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
Last activity:
1 hour 1 min

The New York Times reports "Prospect Park needs each episode to be seen roughly 500,000 times to break even".

So presumably, they're not even getting that, hence the cutback.

marknsprmo's picture
Member since:
14 June 2009
Last activity:
1 hour 29 min

I've got to admit at this point, I am fast forwarding the eps anyway. More nude boys less weeping girls would be my advice. The best scene either show has come up with so far is AJ playing that guitar, and on OLTL is the reverse three's company with scantily clad boys running around. The rest is forgetable soap rehash muck. And even that is VERY tame conpared to what other web soaps are doing. OLTL and AMC is being too safe and traditional. Yes the ratings have been good but I am personally bored. I was not a regular viewer of either show and do not have the same attachment that others have for these characters.

Member since:
22 February 2013
Last activity:
41 weeks 6 days

People are too quick to jump to conclusions, Saying that the shows are already going to fail. If anything this helps ensure that the shows are still around by September when they are allowed to be broadcasted on cable. Also they still have the same shooting schedule so it does not hurt the actors one bit. They are still getting paid the same amount, doing the same work. I do think that they should have waited til had at least two months of shows filmed before they started airing. Still impressed with the quality and content of the shows and will continue to watch and those who keep bitching and dont watch DONT COMMENT.

Member since:
2 April 2009
Last activity:
1 week 9 hours

Yea OLTL and AMC need to shake it up get a little more "adult" hell why not?

Member since:
7 October 2009
Last activity:
2 weeks 4 days

they gotta do what they gotta do--I was ready to give up amc because I don't have time to watch both shows and GH every day (and if I miss a day then I just give up)/

I am fine with a bit less.

Hope they also smooth out some of the story lines--less clubbing and college students cheesy habits--the difference between the quality of the teen plots in the days of Lucky and Liz and the original emily, earlier destiny and mathew (and star when she was interesting) and what they have come up with so far on the new AMC and OLTL is telling--teens actually aren't particularly shallow and can handle real issues (including more substantial conflicts with their parents than Jack ugh--I hate you...)

But I'd ;like us all to give them a year. AMC is schizoid from old victorian romance novel plots (celia's guardian??/) to cutting edge sex trafficking. OLTL is dropping some real opportunities (todd and victor should be able to do something more than try to kill each other (like compare notes on mommy dearest or have victor captured by mommy and todd rescue him for the real sake of his kids)--what if vicki believe dorian and helped her uncover real gov't dastardly plots.

But let's give them a chance--these shows finding their way is still better than youtube nostalgia

Member since:
24 August 2012
Last activity:
54 min 50 sec

It's a business decision. There aren't enough people watching. It's the same reason ABC cancelled these shows. I'm not saying they're going to be canceled but no production company makes this type of move because things are going well.

And I find it odd they did it after only 2 weeks into airing. Presumably OLTL was trying to attract younger viewers and many colleges have been in finals weeks for the past 2 weeks.

What really makes me mad is PP's refusal to allow "their" characters to be on GH. I actually prefer Kiki to Starr, but I really miss McBain. And haven't seen enough of Roger's new character to say.

Member since:
2 April 2009
Last activity:
1 week 9 hours

Well even I have to admit that I am having trouble tuning into both the shows every day. Usually I watch on the weekends.

Member since:
16 May 2013
Last activity:
47 weeks 6 days

Nooooo! I only watch One Life to Live, but I'll watch All My Children, too, if we get the four eps a week! Please change your minds!

nysam's picture
Member since:
28 October 2008
Last activity:
2 hours 34 min

Your name doesn't have to be Delfina to see that this is all PR spin by Prospect Park and the shows will probably be officially canceled come August so PP can give 3 months notice on the studio lease that they have until October.

This is sad but not surprising. Kwatinetz & Frank don't know soaps and they made the mistake of hiring all the same behind the scenes people that worked in the industry for years who aren't capable of taking the shows to the next level. If they were capable they would have done that when they were on ABC. The teams in place can't make 2 hours of TV compelling a week when they used to have to do 5 hours. Why should we think they will be able to make 1 hour a week strong enough to grab an audience?

The people behind the scenes certainly knew how fickle soap fans are. They needed to draw a line in the sand and hit the shows out of the park the first week. They did not. I watched the first week and tuned out like many other people.Promises were made of edgy, contemporary storytelling and we get more back from the same old, same old and even a back from the dead story with Billy Clyde so early on.

Remember PASSIONS when it went to Direct TV. It started out 5 days and then was cut to 4 and so on. The same will unfortunately happen to AMC & OLTL.

Let's have hope...as soap fans we know that characters come back from the dead all the time. AMC & OLTL were resurrected once. Can it be done again?

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
4 hours 12 min

They have the studios til January for one

DevinMissesOLTL's picture
Member since:
16 February 2012
Last activity:
4 days 7 hours

Wow! I'm rather shocked that the current schedule is to much for the viewing audience. It's only 4 hours a week! Good grief, I know people that are on instagram and facebook for that long...a day! I don't know about this 2 days a week stuff. And what if that doesn't make a difference? What, will they be cut to once a week? I happen to look forward to each episode everyday. I mean isn't this what all you "soap fans" were bitching for?! Watch them then!!! I watch while I'm cooking, eating, cleaning...in the bathroom(TMI, I know Lol!) But I'm just saying, it's doable people.

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
Last activity:
37 min 49 sec

TV Gord wrote

The New York Times reports "Prospect Park needs each episode to be seen roughly 500,000 times to break even".

Yep, that sounds exactly right from what a couple of folks told me a few months ago; otherwise the economics make zero sense.

This is also important, from the Times article:

Hulu, which has guaranteed a minimum amount of ad revenue to Prospect Park, has backed the new schedule, Mr. Frank and Mr. Kwatinetz said in their statement. Hulu was going to make only the most recent episodes available free, while providing the whole library to paying subscribers of its Hulu Plus service. But “because Hulu agrees with our findings, for the meantime they will keep all of our episodes on Hulu.com for free to give viewers the opportunity to find us and catch up,” the two men said.

and

While the adjustment will not markedly reduce the production company’s costs — Prospect Park is still committed to producing 220 episodes of each show — it will give the company more time to recoup those costs and turn a profit. Prospect Park needs each episode to be seen roughly 500,000 times to break even. With that in mind, slowing down the release schedule so that those episodes last two years instead of one is a logical step.

I know there are some fans who seem to be irritated about talk about soaps-as-businesses, but the hard fact is that for all of the concerns about storylines and characters and blaming Prospect Park, ABC or both for the state of affairs, ultimately these are indeed business issues.

Nielsen ratings for tv are (rightly) criticized for not being totally accurate, but the prevailing wisdom among fans of certain struggling shows (not just soaps) is that because of these inaccuracies (rather lack of exact numbers), it automatically must be assumed that it is all but certain that more viewers are watching their favorite series than Nielsen ratings indicate. The argument has usually gone that if only Neilsen fixed its system, then we would see that Series X really had double, triple, quadruple than whatever ratings are reported.

My argument against this was always the common sense one: if Neilsen did "fix" their system with exact & 100% accurate viewing numbers, there might be a rude shock awaiting these fans, i.e. viewership could be worse for their shows than they assumed. And what then? In some ways, the surviving soaps may have benefitted from Neilsen's "inaccuracies" because viewership could be less than what many fans have thought about the popularity of "their" shows.

To that end, producing and streaming All My Children & One Life to Live online automatically had an inherently huge potential disadvantage: the viewing numbers would be both exact and unforgiving. Ad impressions are accurate because you can't skip them (even if you don't watch them). Streaming numbers are accurate right down to your IP address. Advertisers pay for eyeballs and, especially given how many fans protested these shows by refusing to watch online, refusing to pay for an iTunes subscription or per episode, because they were mad at Prospect Park (for not making them an hour on the same budgets with the same sets with every veteran) and/or ABC (for cancelling them) or any other host of reasons, the numbers for these shows — which are at least as good as they were on ABC and, in some ways better (and in a few ways worse) — don't have the numbers to justify the old release schedule.

The new release schedule makes sense.
The question remains if it is sustainable.

Member since:
11 May 2013
Last activity:
40 weeks 5 days

I watched both. Sad turn of events-maybe. Having worked in corporate America for over 20 years, if they are cutting back this soon then it does not look good. I can't see how watching two 23-25 minute episodes a week can be good for continuity of storylines. I didn't have any confusion issues with watching these-especially since they were only like 25 minutes each/day.
I said it last year when they first had this idea (and PP mentions it in their release); I would rather see 1- one hour episode a week that builds drama over the hour with a cliffhanger for the next week. Just like the current night time soaps (Revenge, Dallas reboot, etc.). Look at the cast you have, cut out the fringe characters-Rama and Vimal, etc like on OLTL, and create a couple of continuing, dramatic story arcs for the core families and friends.
I wont give up on the forum. I will just now watch the each shows two episodes a week back to back after they both have aired.

Member since:
11 May 2013
Last activity:
40 weeks 5 days

DevinMissesOLTL wrote:
Wow! I'm rather shocked that the current schedule is to much for the viewing audience. It's only 4 hours a week! Good grief, I know people that are on instagram and facebook for that long...a day! I don't know about this 2 days a week stuff. And what if that doesn't make a difference? What, will they be cut to once a week? I happen to look forward to each episode everyday. I mean isn't this what all you "soap fans" were bitching for?! Watch them then!!! I watch while I'm cooking, eating, cleaning...in the bathroom(TMI, I know Lol!) But I'm just saying, it's doable people.

Couldn't agree more Devin!

DevinMissesOLTL's picture
Member since:
16 February 2012
Last activity:
4 days 7 hours

I love Vimal and Rama SOOOOOOOOO much! Loved them from day 1 when they were first introduced. Those characters are such a breath of fresh air! So much fun to watch! Not to mention how cute they both are. I say more story for "RiMal"!

Member since:
12 January 2010
Last activity:
1 hour 8 min

This works for me. I've struggled trying to find the time to watch both everyday and have missed a few episodes of OLTL. Now I should be able to watch all episodes of both.

DevinMissesOLTL's picture
Member since:
16 February 2012
Last activity:
4 days 7 hours

Thanks plant50! Smile I appreciate your Amen!