In their refreshingly honest, yet respectful piece on the decline of the America soap opera, Conde Nast's Portfolio reveals that network-santioned demographic studies show the largest viewing audience for soap operas is poor, older black women. No, go on?! You mean to tell women like Robin McGraw and Ma Hilton aren't sitting at home dripping in diamonds watching the stories?
When the cuts come, producers of the three CBS soaps turning a "marginal" profit may have little choice but to drastically chop production costs, lop off beloved characters, and renegotiate the salaries of those who are left.
Unfortunately for the networks, viewers say they tune in to see the old standbys. Unfortunately for advertisers, network-commissioned surveys have found that a large segment of the soap audience is poor, middle-aged African-American women. "That's definitely not the demo sponsors are targeting," says a network exec.
The world will continue to turn, but soaps may not be slippery enough to escape the current crunch.
It's no secret that minorities have always been the largest audience for soaps, so why is this all of the sudden an "unfortunate" circumstance for advertisers? Is the youth dollar greener than the black dollar, the gay dollar, or the middle-aged dollar? And where did people get this myth that the poor don't spend money? Most of the poor people I know spend more money, that's why a lot of them are poor in the first place!
Have these executives been out to a local mall lately? (Scratch that). It isn't the wealthy paying obscene amounts of money for some Louis Vutton scarf, it's the poor. Most millionaires drive used cars. Poor people are trying to trade one in every three years to impress their neighbors, or someone they don't like at their church. Who is it out at Sam's Club buying toilet tissue in bulk every Saturday morning? You guessed it, poor people!
Advertisers have always made off with a King's Ransom by enticing the poor to buy their goods like Sirens to horny sailors. I don't see the advertisers who sell air time during the booming Hispanic telenovela programs being too concerned about the economic status of their even poorer consumers. For this industry to survive people are going to have to get over themselves and their small minded, prejudiced notions and think like business people for a change. Like Scarlett O'Hara said when Melanie asked why she was selling lumber to the Yankees, " The War is Over Melly." and later 'I don't have time for fools who won't help themselves".