Cable Operators

ABC Family Comes to SoapNet’s Aid

3/19/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

SoapNet isn’t washed out as yet and will
continue to operate as a full-fledged 24-hour network despite
the March 23 launch of Disney Junior, which is expected
to eventually assume all of the network’s 75 million
subscribers.

The network last week said it will run a March 25 10-
hour marathon of ABC Family’s drama Make It or Break It,
as well as launch
the off-network
drama series Veronica
Mars,
beginning
April 7.

With Disney Junior
launching
to less than half
of SoapNet’s subscriber
base, a
network spokeswoman
said Soap-
Net will remain
in play for some
time.

SoapNet was
expected to cease
operations once it
was announced in
May 2010 that Disney
Junior would
take over the network’s subscribers when it expanded
from a daily morning block on Disney Channel into a fullfledged 24-hour channel. The 12-year-old SoapNet’s primary
focus on reairing episodes of daytime soap operas
was seen by many as obsolete in a DVR and online enhanced-
TV environment. The cause was hurt further by
the 2011 cancellations of longtime ABC soap operas All
My Children
and One Life to Live.

Toddler-targeted Disney Junior is expected to launch
Friday with about 30 million of SoapNet’s 75 million subscribers,
according to Disney Junior senior vice president
and general manager Nancy Kanter. Kanter told Multichannel
News
that the network would continue to add subscribers
as SoapNet’s deals with operators expire over the
next couple of years (see Cover Story).

“We always knew it would be a slow build — it wasn’t going
to be a light-switch turnaround, so this is what we had
anticipated,” Kanter said.

As a result, SoapNet will continue to run its primetime
lineup of sameday
repeats of
daytime soap operas
Days of our
Lives, General
Hospital
and The
Young and the
Restless, as well
as classic episodes
of All My Children
and One Life to
Live
and off-network
acquisitions
Gilmore Girls, Th e
O.C.
, One Tree
Hill
, Beverly Hills,
90210 and, most
recently, Veronica
Mars
.

The network
will also periodically
run a marathon of episodes from ABC Family series
such as Make It or Break It as a primer for the debut of new
series seasons on the millennial viewer-targeted network.
The gymnastics-themed drama series premieres its third
season on March 26, a day after the SoapNet marathon, according
to network executives.

A similar marathon for ABC Family’s The Lying Game
this past Jan. 8 more than doubled SoapNet’s younger female
audience composition compared to the prior four
week average.

September