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    Soap Operas: Watching The Ratings Slide. (UPDATED)

    Wednesday, November 07 2007


    Find the rating on our Soaps.com homepage!
    Updated since its original post on October 15, 2007:

    On October 24, 2007, the Nielsen Company partnered with Google as a way to deliver a clearer report to their customers on just how many viewers are tuning in to commercials on a second-by-second basis! Another words, companies will now be able to tell who watches their ads and who fast-forwards through them!

    Moving from strictly online ads, since May 2007 Google began selling their TV ads through EchoStar Communication with DISH Network, which has enabled them to monitor and analyze the results from set-top equipped boxes. Nielson will now come in with their knowledge and 'voice' among viewers and distribute the findings made up of these television audiences. Although the partnership will start out small, it is only apt to grow over the multi-year contract!

    As previously reported...

    Many fans have commented, "Ratings aren't what they used to be." It appears Soap Opera ratings seem to have declined over the past few years. Perhaps with so many working day shifts and the popularity of the Internet, many fans are getting their soap addiction fix via online in-depth recaps, from sites such as Soaps.com, perhaps others are using the podcasting downloads or the recently made available same-day viewing of full online episodes.

    While some feel the ratings reflect the number of people who actually like the soap, in reality, media research companies, such as Nielsen, simply gather their ratings by the number of households watching the show on a daily basis. I guess this concept kind of goes hand in hand and we may think, “If a show is ranked number one then it must be liked by many.” True, but it still boils down to how many households are tuning in to that particular show – not necessarily how many people in each are watching it.

    During the early years of television, the ratings system wasn’t as complex, due to the lack of technology – so unlike the excessive, ever-changing technology of today! Today, ratings are determined by metered samples, which is a feature stored in the in-home metering system through networks or cable providers, and by internal references, which are obtained through surveys from a certain number of participating households. A media research company then accumulates these figures (referred to as the ‘tuning data’) automatically, on a nightly basis, in order to deliver the most up-to-date ratings to television networks everywhere. Not only are show ratings retrieved by these companies, the companies also determine who makes up the audience, or households, watching these shows (referred to as the ‘demographic data’). Keep in mind, all research media companies base their ratings on a certain amount of households, which at times can include millions! These are where the ratios, that you see next to the show, come in – stating where the show placed.

    Example:

    1. (Placed first) The Young and the Restless at 3.7 (3.7 ratio = How many millions of households were included in the ratings research. In this case 3.7 million households out of X-amount tuned into Y&R. Which households to include in the ratings research vary and are determined by the show, its availability in a certain area, etc.)

    To give you a little insight into how the ratings for each currently aired soap opera have fluctuated throughout the years, I’ve taken a little peek into the soap time-vault to bring you some fun facts…

    The longest running soap, Guiding Light debuted on the radio in 1937 then hit television in 1952 where it rated fourth out of four soaps. As more shows were added to the daytime lineup, the shows ratings went as follows…

    1955 – 2nd at 13.0 out of 8 soaps
    1960 – 3rd at 9.9 out of 10 soaps
    1965 – 2nd at 11.2 out of 17 soaps
    1970 – 3rd at 9.7 out of 18 soaps
    1975 – 6th at 8.1 out of 14 soaps (tied with AMC)
    1980 – 5th at 8.2 out of 13 soaps
    1985 – 6th at 6.8 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 8th at 5.4 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 8th at 4.0 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 8th at 3.1 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 8th at 2.4 out of 9 soaps
    2007 – 8th at 1.8 out of 9 soaps


    Debuting in 1956 As the World Turns rated seventh at 8.4 out of seven soaps. Throughout the years, its ratings varied at…

    1960 – 1st at 10.4 out of 10 soaps
    1965 – 1st at 13.9 out of 17 soaps
    1970 – 1st at 12.4 out of 18 soaps
    1975 – 1st at 9.4 out of 14 soaps
    1980 – 6th at 7.5 out of 13 soaps
    1985 – 7th at 6.7 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 5th at 5.8 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 7th at 4.4 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 6th at 3.3 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 5th at 2.7 out of 9 soaps
    2007 - 6th at 2.1 out of 9 soaps


    New to daytime in 1963, General Hospital rated ninth at 3.9 out of twelve soaps. As the years went by, the show held strong…

    1965 – 7th at 7.3 out of 17 soaps
    1970 – 6th at 9.5 out of 18 soaps (tied with Days)
    1975 – 10th at 7.1 out of 14 soaps
    1980 – 1st at 10.0 out of 13 soaps
    1985 – 1st at 9.2 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 2nd at 7.4 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 5th at 4.7 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 3rd at 3.8 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 3rd at 2.9 out of 9 soaps
    2007 – 3rd at 3.3 out of 9 soaps


    Following suite in 1965, Days of Our Lives came in at tenth at 5.3 out of seventeen soaps. Fighting alongside everyone else, Days competed well…

    1970 – 4th at 9.5 out of 18 soaps
    1975 – 5th at 8.3 out of 14 soaps
    1980 – 10th at an undisclosed ratio out of 13 soaps
    1985 – 5th at 7.2 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 7th at 5.4 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 2nd at 5.8 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 4th at 3.6 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 4th at 2.8 out of 9 soaps
    2007 - 7th at 1.9 out of 9 soaps


    Like many debuting soaps, One Life to Live slide into the last slot during its first appearance in 1968 with a thirteenth place rating at 4.3 out of thirteen soaps. However, throughout the years, the show left last place behind…

    1970 – 14th at 6.7 out of 19 soaps
    1975 – 11th at 6.8 out of 14 soaps
    1980 – 4th at 8.7 out of 14 soaps
    1985 – 4th at 7.8 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 4th at 6.3 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 6th at 4.6 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 7th at 3.2 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 7th at 2.5 out of 9 soaps
    2007 – 4th at 2.3 out of 9 soaps


    In its debut in 1970, All My Children ranked seventeenth at 4.4 out of nineteen soaps. The years to come went as follows…

    1975 – 6th at 8.1 out of 14 soaps (tied with GL)
    1980 – 2nd at 9.3 out of 13 soaps
    1985 – 3rd at 8.0 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 3rd at 6.5 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 4th at 5.3 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 5th at 3.4 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 6th at 2.6 out of 9 soaps
    2007 – 5th at 2.2 out of 9 soaps


    Daytime’s current number drama, The Young and the Restless made an interesting rise to the top over the years. In fact, December 10, 2006 marked the 936th consecutive week it remained in the number one ratings slot! Although it made its introduction in 1973 at seventeenth place at 5.0 out of seventeen soaps, the show definitely made its presence known in years to come…

    1975 – 3rd at 8.6 out of 14 soaps
    1980 – 3rd at 8.7 out of 13 soaps
    1985 – 2nd at 8.3 out of 13 soaps
    1990 – 1st at 8.0 out of 12 soaps
    1995 – 1st at 7.7 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 1st at 6.7 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 1st at 5.2 out of 9 soaps
    2007 - 1st at 3.7 out of 9 soaps


    Coming on the scene in 1987 as a half hour soap, The Bold and the Beautiful was forced to compete with the ‘big boys’ that were occupying one hour slots and rated eighth at 5.6 out of fourteen soaps! As the years went by, the ratings stayed high…

    1990 – 6th at 5.5 out of 11 soaps
    1995 – 3rd at 5.4 out of 11 soaps
    2000 – 2nd at 4.6 out of 10 soaps
    2005 – 2nd at 3.4 out of 9 soaps
    2007 – 2nd at 2.7 out of 9 soaps


    The newest of today’s nine current US airing soaps, Passions debuted twelfth at 2.2 out of twelve soaps. Since then, the ‘soap with a twist of magic’ has captured the hearts of many! Because it’s so new, here’s a little more detailed documentation of its ratings to date…

    2000 – 10th at 2.3 out of 10 soaps
    2001 – 9th at 2.2 out of 10 soaps
    2002 – 9th at 2.1 out of 10 soaps
    2003 – 9th at 2.0 out of ten soaps
    2004 – 9th at 2.0 out of 9 soaps
    2005 – 2006 season – 9th at 1.9 out of 9 soaps
    2007 – 9th at 1.3 out of 9 soaps

    Since then, back on January 17, 2007, Soaps.com reported that the NBC network decided to part ways with the show. However, luckily, in April 2007, satellite cable provider DirecTV picked up the show, enabling Passions To Live On!

    So there you have it fans… In the end, while some may think of ratings as just another confusing numbers game, they are in fact a very crucial part of our television viewing today! Although many shows will be around for years to come, because their ratings remain consistent and high, unfortunately, others will come and go. So next time someone in your household turns on your television, somewhere a machine is tallying in your viewing preferences because it’s you, the fans who keep a show alive!

    Don’t forget to check our Soaps.com's Main Page where you’ll find the ratings posted!


    Amy Mistretta
    Assistant to the Editor-In-Chief
    Editor: One Life to Live


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    USER COMMENTS

    Posted by RonkT2oo at Saturday, October 20 2007 03:04 AM

    Hi Amy,
    Liked your article, but how does vcrs, dvrs and tivo figure into the ratings war?

    I think there are other factors affecting the ratings as well:
    -the genre is no longer being competetive with other daytime shows i.e reruns of primetime shows on cable, talkshows etc;
    -the networks themselves don't support their shows with the same level of promotion as they would with a primetime show.
    -The network's (and sometime the shows' producers and writers) almost total disregard and lack of respect for the fans and what they really want, e.g poor storylines i.e B&B's current S/L with Brooke's behavior post-rape; unnecessary pre-emptions or disruption during the show with non-essential media reports.

    I could raise more issues but I think you get the point I'm making. It does make me wonder what's the point in staying tuned in.

    Posted by sarasecret007 at Monday, October 29 2007 10:23 PM

    These online show's are not that reliable. There's been many times I've tried to watch the show on CBS.com and they are always having problems with the video. Sometimes like tonight for the episode Oct. 29th, it kept replaying Nick sitting by Victoria and Phyllis talking the the wardon. I hate it because, sometimes I do have alot going on during the day and I say to myself, "I'll just watch it on-line then I get screwed because the network can't get the videos working properly.

    Posted by ghjmfan at Sunday, November 18 2007 06:42 PM

    I saw on another site that General Hospital was up to 2.5, and on another site they said the General Hospital will have a 2.8 for the week of November 12th - why does this site still show GH at 2.1 for the 3rd week straight?

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