Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Even though they may argue - sometimes rather violently and personally - about the how, where, when, and why, daytime fans overall seem to agree on the big picture: Support Our Soaps!

The question is: What does that mean?

E-mail campaigns are good. Written campaigns are better. Coupons, rallies, Facebook pages, phone calls, all of those are good.

But, nothing is as good as money. That's a fact. You don't have to like it, you just have to accept it.

Mel Brooks once lamented that "it used to be show business. Now it's show business."

It is. And if fans want to have any chance of saving their shows, they need to keep that notion first and foremost.

The Technium's Kevin Kelly, in 2008, posted The 1000 True Fans Manifesto.

It read, in part:

The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply: A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans....

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day's wages per year in support of what you do. That "one-day-wage" is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let's peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.

One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years.

When http://soapclassics.com/ released their As The World Turns DVD set, the cry went out, "Buy the set! Support the shows! If enough people buy it, there will be a Guiding Light set! And maybe an Another World set! And streaming! And maybe more shows produced!"

My husband is a math teacher. He is always telling our kids, "lots" is not a number. Neither is "enough."

Human beings may speak in generalities, but, truth be told, they prefer specifics.

Instead of telling our friends and fellow fans, "Let's make sure "lots" of DVDs are sold, so there are "enough" sales to insure more sets," those of us who want to see our soaps continue to thrive and flourish well into the 21st Century need to set a numerical goal everyone can get behind.

We need to form a group of "true fans" committed to buying every soap product on the market. Because, once we demonstrate what the number of fixed buyers is, we can give companies like Prospect Park and Soap Classics hard data with which to plan their next offerings.

If they know that they are guaranteed say, $200,000 dollars of sales - minimum - with every soap product they put out, they will adjust accordingly. If sales vary widely from one item to the next, it becomes much harder to plan, and the temptation becomes to chuck the whole thing in favor of something less unpredictable. In a nutshell, if you see a soap product - buy it. It's the only tangible way to make your voice heard. (The cold, hard truth is, a fervid fan only means something to a content producer if they can be converted into income. A fan who can't be converted into income is useless, and thus doesn't "count." Again, we don't have to like it, but we have to be aware of how we're perceived and valued.)

At their peak, soap operas had 40 million daily viewers. Surely it would be possible, out of all them, to form a core group of 1000 true fans.

And then go from there....

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