BEWARE OF SOAP ENTITIES BEARING GENERALITIES....
After my foray into figure skating, I returned to daytime television in 2001, working for a company called SoapCity.com. They were owned by Sony, and hosted the official websites for The Young & the Restless, The Bold & the Beautiful, and Days of Our Lives. I was hired to produce the official As the World Turns and Guiding Light sites, under their overall umbrella.
From the beginning, SoapCity was very big on grand plans... and very vague on specific details. The buzz words flew fast and furious, the results... not so much. More often than not, when I'd request a particular feature for the ATWT and GL sites, I'd hear, "That's impossible."
My husband, a long-time web developer, translated for me, "That means it's a little bit hard."
Eventually, SoapCity folded, and I stayed on with P&G, ATWT and GL.
This past summer, when news of Prospect Park's licensing All My Children and One Life to Live broke, I contacted them, offering my expertise in the field of continuing television properties on-line the way I had with Another World Today and Mindy's Twitter. Initial response was swift and enthusiastic. We had a couple of back and forths... and then they fell off the face of the Earth. (It's actually kind of reassuring that I was treated exactly the same way as Susan Lucci. I'm honored.)
Once again, big picture plans were high, specifics mostly absent.
Now comes the announcement from Broadway Video via We Love Soaps that:
In addition to ordering online through the company’s website or Amazon.com, fans will soon be able to buy episodes right off store shelves. Classic episodes of AS THE WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT will hit store shelves next year. “We’ve been talking to re-sale partners who can have these releases and others on store shelves next year,” the company’s president, Mark Yates, told World Turns TV. “We’re working toward an aggressive release schedule.
I want to be enthusiastic, I really do. Same way I really, really, really wanted the Prospect Park deal to work out.
But, see how the first sentence announces the ability to buy episodes right off store shelves as a definite... then backtracks in the second paragraph to say that they're "talking to" and "working towards?"
One is a statement of fact. The other is a possibility.
The article goes on to report:
Yates declined to say how many As The World Turns DVD box sets the company has sold since the initial offering in October. He did say sales were robust enough to attract ‘a number of online sales and online partners’ and to justify creating an aggressive release calendar for next year.... Response has been so overwhelming that the company will continue to produce the box sets, at least for World Turns and Guiding Light.
My husband left the corporate world of web development to return to his first love, teaching, a few years ago. He is a high-school math teacher now. And one thing he always tells his students (and our kids) is "lots is not a number." Neither is robust. Or overwhelming. Or a number, for that matter.
I have written before about 1000 True Fans and the absolutely mandatory requirement to tangibly demonstrate that soap products (DVDs, merchandising, books, etc...) can be profitable for their creators if we want to have any chance of getting our shows back in any form.
We need to go from robust and overwhelming to X number of units sold, X dollars of profit made. The industry decision makers demand specifics, not generalities.
And it's up to the fans to provide them.
I know you can do it!