SOAPnet Acquires Young and the Restless

Disney/ABC’s SOAPnet has acquired from Sony Pictures Television the rights to run the CBS soap The Young and the Restless. Y&R, the highest-rated soap for the past 15 years, becomes the first CBS soap to run on SOAPnet, which previously ran all the ABC soaps and NBC’s Days of Our Lives, also a Sony show.

Y&R will join the network’s lineup April 24 with same-day reruns running at 7 p.m.daily and in a Saturday-night marathon. The long-term deal also gives SOAPnet access to older episodes from Y&R’s 33 seasons for stunts and marathons.

SOAPnet, which targets mainly women 18-49 with reruns of daytime shows and original soap-themed programming, averaged 123,000 viewers during prime in February 2006, down 16% from last year. But Y&R, which the network has been after for years, could provide a big ratings jolt, given its popularity.

SOAPnet has been pursuing Y&R for years, but the deal finally game together as multi-platform deals have become commonplace and content providers are getting less wary about the idea of programs living in many spaces.

 “When we started talking about Y&R, that was more unusual,” Blackwell said. “But what we have shown is that when a show starts on SOAPnet it brings a lot of women back to it – it’s incremental viewing.”

SOAPnet has done research showing that same-day reruns of soaps don’t cannibalize their daytime audience; instead, they attract a new set of viewers, like those who aren’t home during the day.