and my One Life To Live is over. Weekday afternoons will never be the same. ABC has announced the death of the two venerable soaps at the end of this season. Both have had long lives and slow deaths. Even Susan Lucci couldn’t save the children.
The story of the soaps began in 1951 when the Search For Tomorrow began—sitting in the #1 spot with a 16.1 rating. The search got a Guiding Light in 1956 and by 1958 there were seven soaps filling the after-lunch timeslots As The World Turns. (I suppose the rotation of earth was suspended on Saturday and Sunday.) By 1969, the field had grown to nineteen soaps, but the top rating had slipped a little to 13.6 (No doubt A World Apart was making it difficult for the world to turn).
There is a marketplace principle that having an increasing market share in a declining market is not an indication of success. Both All My Children and One Life To Live had their highest market share ever (>12%) last season. However, the overall market has decreased by over 80% since the two shows launched in the late 60’s, so their number of viewers was actually decreasing as the share was increasing. So instead of a Bright Promise for the future, a Secret Storm was casting Dark Shadows that even a trip to General Hospital couldn’t save.
Last week’s post was the story of the fast death of a market leader; this is the story of the slow death of market leaders. Both stories point out the deceptiveness of market share as a long-term measure of business health and continued success. Instead of asking “What is our market share?”, ask:
Is our total market growing?Is our product or service attracting new customers (and younger ones), or are we stuck in a diminishing demographic?
Are we trying to buck an inevitable trend (cars vs horses; digital vs analog; etc.) and if so, will we make it for only five years…or forty?
If what we are doing now isn’t working, why, and are we willing to change?
Leaders, don’t be deceived, change is coming and if you don’t get ready, The Edge Of Night will become turn out the lights.
© Copyright 2011 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
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"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner