Larry Magid: Internet Gives Soap Opera New Life

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— It’s the words fans of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” have been longing to hear. Yes, the two long-running soap operas pulled from the airwaves are getting a new lease on life, thanks to the internet.

You’ll be surprised to know that I don’t know much about soaps, but I watched portions of both shows and they were actually better than I expected. They are on the web on Hulu for free, by watching ads of course or on iTunes you can pay 99 cents an episode or $10 for the season.

I’m not sure where the line is crossed on what you can put on the internet versus television, but they did look pretty edgy to me. Of course on the web there really isn’t much censorship. They can do whatever they want.

They’ve got younger actors and they’re aggressively going after the web audience. I think it’s kind of exciting although I’m not likely to be a regular viewer of these shows.

Once again, this is changing the landscape of entertainment through web content cutting into network viewership. Last year you may remember Netflix announced it was creating its own original series, “House of Cards” (as well as others) to compete with HBO.

Tech Report: Internet Gives Soap Opera New Life

This has meant a different business model and cost structure is seeping its way into how we acquire and digest content. To get something cleared for national television to play on the network is a really big deal. But to get something on the web is much cheaper and much easier and there’s unlimited bandwidth in the sense that on network TV there’s only so many hours that you can put something on the air. In theory, maybe we’ll see Dobie Gillis, or “I Love Lucy” return via the web screen, of course with new actors.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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