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Soap Opera developed from the American radio serials in the 1930s to a major global television genre. Trace it s development a - Essay Example

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Soap Opera developed from the American radio serials in the 1930s to a major global television genre. Trace it s development a

These ongoing serials, which first appeared on radio and later on television, were called “soap operas” because the leading soap manufacturers such as P&G, Lever Brothers, Colgate and others were the major advertisers, producers and financers of these soap operas (Katzman, 1972, p. 210). By the 1930s, most of the networks and advertisers were realising the potential and the size of the daytime market, as most men would spend their daytime on their job and children would spend most of the morning and afternoon at school and playing outside, which left the women and homemakers as an enormous untapped market (Baym, 1996, p. 149). Soap operas provided these networks to tap into this market and attract the advertisers since these women made most of the important purchasing decisions in their homes. Furthermore, with the advent of television and its widespread distribution and use in industrialised and modern economies, advertisers began to focus on developing soap operas on television and it is on television that the genre of soap opera has developed and nurtured (Nariman & Rogers, 1993, p. 152). This paper will make a brief attempt at exploring and analysing the development and evolution of soap operas in the global television industry with highlighting the significant and noteworthy changes that have taken place over the past few decades in terms of the format and content of soap operas. Discussion For the most part, a crucial defining element of soap operas has been its open-ended narrative nature, where the story line has the potential to go into so many directions. Every episode ends in such a way that it does need to explicitly run a ticker saying, “To be continued” because the viewers easily infer that the story will move on to several upcoming episodes. A soap opera may have several parallel story lines, which may intersect with each other and shape each other. Soap opera are least likely to bring all of their storylines to conclusion during the show and even if one storyline moves towards its conclusion, the other storyline is likely to take its place (Nariman & Rogers, 1993, p. 152). During the early years, when the soap operas represented stage plays and theatre settings, the actors relied heavily on blocking techniques. Every now and then, during conservations between characters, one character would suddenly change his or her direction so that they could both face the camera or the stage at the same time (Matelski, 1988, p. 37). The conversation or dialogue delivery, which takes place in such a setting, is not at all realistic but this was a technique which was heavily relied upon during the early years when most of the soap operas were shot in live format. The same does not apply to soap operas and television dramas of today, whether they are using single camera or multi camera format (Liebes & Livingstone, 1998, p. 68). During much of the 1940s-1960s, many of the soap operas never left interior settings or were shot in fictional settings of Midwestern midsized towns. Furthermore, since most of the early actors that took part in these soap opera were theatre actors, the focus remained on live broadcasting in order to provide a ...Show more


Running Head: Soap Operas Soap Operas Introduction To begin with, Irna Phillips spent most of her career as a staff writer on a daytime soap opera but her big break through came somewhere in the summer of the year 1930 when she pitched the idea of a daytime serial, titled “Painted Dreams”, to her network bosses at WGN in Chicago…
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Soap Opera developed from the American radio serials in the 1930s to a major global television genre. Trace it s development a essay example
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