Monday, February 26, 2007

Nielsen's Change, Soaps Benefit (too little, too late?) /and/ GUIDING LIGHT's Internet Innovation Honors Irna Phillips Legacy

Two stories appearing in Variety (all published recently, but before the launch this weekend) are definitely worth a read...

1 - In "College Campuses Boost Ratings," Rick Kissell reports on a key Nielsen methodology change that is poised to make a seismic shift in the soap ratings game:

"Nielsen has taken its ratings game to college campuses for the first time, and the early results are good news for young-skewing programs....[and] a few daytime soap operas have been big beneficiaries." Looking at the first week that Nielsen included viewing estimates of students living away from home:

DAYS OF OUR LIVES and PASSIONS shot up by more than 30% week to week among adults 18-24.

PASSIONS was the biggest gainer, with gains among women 18-24 of 39% (to 223,000 from 160,000). This translated into a 16% change in the program's core sales demo of adults 18-34.

DAYS shot up 33% in women 18-24 (231,000 from 174,000) and grew by 20% -- the most of any show -- in the broader 18-34 category (582,000 from 490,000).

GENERAL HOSPITAL and GUIDING LIGHT each climbed more than 20%

GL sister show AS THE WORLD TURNS also benefited from methodology change.

Notably, overall ratings leader, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS was not among the demo gainers.

Kissell: "A boost in Nielsen ratings -- especially among young adults -- means increased advertising revenue [and] could make the difference between cancellation or survival. It looks to be too late for PASSIONS, as the 8-year-old show announced last month that it will
shut down later this year. But if DAYS continues to rise, it may be able to quell talk that it will end its lengthy run in 2009 when its contract with NBC is up."

2 - In "''Light' Shines in New Media: Soap's move to podcasts, Internet reflects growing trends," Michael Maloney explores GUIDING LIGHT's use of new media and GL's long history as an embracer of new platforms.

Some highlights:

"Today, fans can go to to access the show as a daily podcast and listen to 'Guiding Light Lite,' which features commentary from show personnel. Also, key episodes that are preempted due to breaking news can find a new home on the Eye's Innertube site.

Barbara Bloom, CBS Daytime SVP: "Ellen( Wheeler, [GL's] executive producer) is extraordinary about being proactive and aggressive about getting her stories out on as many platforms as possible at a time when CBS is looking to extend the reach of its shows. It's been a terrific convergence of the right people and the right places."

"[GL] has a track record of transitioning to new platforms. Back in the early 1950s, the soap moved from radio to television....historian Christopher Schemering wrote in a 1986 book that "Television had everyone worried, except (show creator) Irna Phillips. She was determined to make serials work in the new medium."

Wheeler: "With Irna as such a good example as someone who was willing to take her show
from radio to television, why wouldn't I (embrace new media)? I think Irna expects us to do this because she saw that 'Guiding Light' was about showing struggles and how people overcame them.

Brian Cahill, a vice president at Procter & Gamble Productions: "As we saw the media landscape changing, it was second nature for us to think: How do we reach our audience now?
Soon after we made the podcast available, we got an email from a woman in her 60s who's watched 'Guiding Light' all of her life. One day, her DVR failed and she was so happy she could get the podcast and listen to it on her iPod. I was happy that we'd made our content available, and that email shattered so many stereotypes about who's using this
technology. We love how limitless it is."

1 comment:

Greg Tisser said...

Passions getting cancelled by NBC has been one of the most devastating news I’ve received this year. It’s Kooky story lines made it for some of the most original entertainment on TV today .It's not to late, in Fact it's far from over! Passions fans! We need to unite and go out fighting! There are several petitions to save the show on the Cyworld message boards. Post your comments to save “Passions” @ the Cyworld Passions Club @ - Fancy Crane also has a page on Cyworld, She has lots of photos and video she posted. And you can post your comments in her guest book. Be sure to check out Fancy’s page @ -
I work with Cyworld, so go check it out and help save Passions!

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