American soap opera channel SOAPnet is to leave television screens at the end of 2013.
The cable and satellite channel which launched in 2000 exclusively screens soap operas, however with less sagas to air and ‘on demand’ taking over viewing habits the Disney corporation say the channel, which broadcasts 24-hours a day, is no longer a viable business.
SOAPnet has been on ‘borrowed time’ since 2010 when it was first mooted that it may close three years ago not long before the axe fell on soaps All My Children and One Life to Live.
SOAPnet was created in 2000 to give daytime viewers the ability to watch time-shifted soaps, before multi-platform viewing and DVRs were part of our vocabulary… But today, as technology and our businesses evolve, it makes more sense to align this distribution with a preschool channel that builds on the core strengths of our company. – Disney Media Networks President Anne Sweeney
Disney aim to replace the soap channel with Disney Junior, an idea first announced in 2012, however was held back from launching in some areas due to concerns from regional cable companies.
The Young and the Restless departed the SOAPnet schedules earlier this year, for a rival catch-up offering, leaving only General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of our Lives.
In the UK the only full soap opera network was the short-lived Sky Soap, running from 1994 to 1999, which failed to gain enough classic soap operas to survive with Classic Coronation Street airing on Granada Plus and Crossroads, EastEnders, Eldorado and Angels repeated on UK Gold.
Sky Soap aired a mix of American and British sagas including Take The High Road, Albion Market, Emmerdale Farm and As The World Turns.