The Broadcast Daytime Soaps Have Stopped the Bleeding - Broadcasting & Cable

The Broadcast Daytime Soaps Have Stopped the Bleeding

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The broadcast networks' four remaining daytime soap operas
stopped their viewer defections during the 2012-13 season, showing cumulative
percentage gains of 7% in viewers, 2% in the women 18-49 demo and 4% in the
women 25-54 demo.

In fact, according to Nielsen data, if you combine the
average daily viewership of ABC's General Hospital, CBS' The Bold and
the Beautiful
and The Young and theRestless, and NBC's Days
of Our Lives
, the cumulative daily audience of 13.1 million viewers is not
only higher than last year's average of 12.3 million for the four soaps, but
also higher than their 13 million average two years ago.

That stabilization is good news for marketers of brands to
this predominantly female audience, although the cumulative median age of the
four soaps' audience this season was 59, up from 58 during the 2011-12 season
and from 56 during the 2010-11 season.

The Young and the Restless was the most watched soap
this season, averaging 4.5 million viewers, the same number as last year. It also
averaged a 1.3 women 18-49 demo rating, down from a 1.4 in the 2011-12 season,
but its women 25-54 rating was the same 1.9.

The Bold and the Beautiful was the next most-watched
soap, averaging 3.4 million, and was one of three that grew its viewership over
2011-12 season numbers. B&B grew its audience by almost 10% from 3.1
million viewers. B&B also increased its women 18-49 rating 10% to a
1.1 and its women 25-54 rating by 7% to a 1.5.

General Hospital averaged 2.7 million viewers, an
increase of 17% from the 2011-12 season, while also increasing its women 18-49
rating to a 1.0, an 11% jump; and its women 25-54 rating to a 1.5, a 7% rise.

Days of Our Lives averaged 2.5 million viewers, and
increase of 4%, while averaging the same 0.9 among women 18-49 and 1.1 among
women 25-54 that it did during the 2011-12 season.

The Bold and the Beautiful had the same median age
audience as the 2011-12 season -- 59. Both Days and B&B saw
their audiences age up one year to 59 and 60, respectively, while General
Hospital's
median age audience this season rose to 57, up from 55 two
seasons ago.

B&B is the only one of the four soaps to grow its
audience from the 2010-11 season, with an average 3.4 million viewers this year
compared to 3 million two years ago. Days of Our Lives' 2.5 million viewers this season is
the same as its average during the 2010-11 season.

In the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards given out
on June 16, The Young andthe Restless' Doug Davidson won for lead actor in a drama series and B&B's Heather Tom won for lead actress. B&B's Scott Clifton and Y&R's Billy Miller tied for best
supporting actor in a drama series.

General Hospital's Julie Marie Berman won for best supporting actress and
Kristen Alderson won for best younger actress.

Days of Our Lives' Chandler Massey won best younger actor and Days won the
award for outstanding drama series for the first time in 38 years.

It's puzzling that none of the broadcast networks televise
the Daytime Emmys any longer. This season, cable's HLN again televised the
awards but drew only about 915,000 viewers. The last time the awards aired on a
broadcast network was in 2011, when CBS televised the ceremony and drew about
5.2 million viewers.

It seems like a missed opportunity for the broadcast
networks to promote the remaining soaps, which after this most recent broadcast
season seem to be holding their own.

The two newer daytime shows that replaced soap operas two
years ago, CBS' The Talk and ABC's The Chew, both also grew their
viewership a bit this season. The Talk, which airs at 2 p.m. and
competes with General Hospital, averaged 2.4 million viewers this
season, up 14%.

The combined viewership of General Hospital and The
Talk
in the same time period grew from 4.4 million to 5.1 million, a
cumulative increase of 16%.

The Chew, which airs at 1 p.m. and competes with Days
of Our Lives
, averaged 2.4 million viewers this season, a 9% increase.

The women 18-49 and women 25-54 ratings for both The Talk
and The Chew were basically flat compared to the 2011-12 season.

View Drops Viewers

The one daytime talk show that continued to decline in
viewership this season was ABC's The View. With a median age of 62, The
View
skews older than any of the four remaining soaps or the two network
talk shows.

Viewership for The View this season averaged 3.2
million, down 9% from the 2011-12 season. Its women 18-49 rating fell 10% to a
0.9, while its women 25-54 rating dropped 14% to a 1.2.

During the 2010-11 season, The View averaged 3.7
million viewers, a 1.2 women 18-49 rating and a 1.6 women 25-54 rating. Still,
for a talk show in its 16th season, the numbers are impressive, with
only Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey having hosted daytime talkers that were on
the air longer.

As far as a place for advertisers to reach women, broadcast
daytime is still a strong option if priced right. Much like the broadcast
evening news daypart, which draws a still solid 23 million viewers per night in
that half-hour, the four remaining soaps each day pulled in 13 million viewers
cumulatively of mostly women, and that remains a nice target for many
advertisers.

That the remaining soaps have seemingly stopped the viewer
defections and have even started to draw more viewers will present the network
entertainment execs with a difficult but "good problem to have" decision if
they want to kill off any of the remaining survivors.

All four remaining soaps have more viewers and higher female
demo ratings than the two newer network talk shows that replaced the soaps. And
both The Talk and The Chew have median age audiences of 60, which
is older than all but one of the soaps.

It's not like millennial women are flocking to
the daytime talk shows, which are basically just drawing from the same audience
base as the soaps.

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