Pop culture Q&A
By Rich Heldenfels
Q. I am still trying to understand how to watch the new versions of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” if you do not have Hulu (whatever that is — I have no idea) or iTunes (I don’t know what that is, either) and if you don’t have something like that, then what? There are a lot of people who don’t have those things, so how do they expect to get a lot of viewers?
A. When “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” begin new telecasts Monday, they will be online shows available through Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes. That means you need a computer or a smart TV connected to the Internet, or other devices, including phones and tablets, that have access to Hulu or iTunes. If you can connect your computer or other device to your TV, you can then watch on your television screen.
Hulu is a service carrying recent and old movies and episodes of TV shows; Hulu does not charge a fee, but Hulu Plus does. The Apple empire includes iTunes, a download service with music, movies, TV shows and other material you can obtain for your iPod and other devices.
As for making money, in television, it’s not about the number of viewers you have, it’s about how you generate revenue.
A relatively small audience can be lucrative if you are HBO, for instance, because each of those viewers is paying a fee for your service. If your audience has a lot of young viewers, or well-off viewers, then advertisers may be willing to buy ads in your show because they will reach their desired audience, while a show with more viewers doesn’t have the same demographics.
For the soaps, there will be several revenue streams. The Hulu telecasts will include commercials; Hulu Plus is a subscription service so people pay a monthly fee to get it (and still will have commercials in the telecasts), and iTunes will charge 99 cents per episode downloaded or $10 per month for a subscription. Look also for product placement in the shows.
In addition, Prospect Park, the company behind these online soaps, sees cost benefits in going online. Jeff Kwatinetz, the co-founder and CEO of Prospect Park, told Forbes magazine earlier this month that online is “the best means of distribution in terms of convenience, cost and accessibility. ...
“We don’t have to deal with region- by-region markets for distribution,” he said. “We also eliminate carriage and distribution fees by going online. Our programs will still reach an extremely large audience, who don’t need to have a DVR to access our programs. Fans can access the content whenever, wherever.”
With the right gear, of course. And though Prospect Park has the option of selling these shows to cable or broadcast channels, for now it is focused online.
Q. I would like to know if James Arness is still alive. The one from “Gunsmoke.” I know Ken Curtis, Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone died. I would also like to know where Arness lives, how old he is and if he had any family.
A. Bad news first. Arness died in June 2011 at age 88. His younger brother, Peter, also became an actor — as Peter Graves. You may remember him from “Mission: Impossible” and other shows and movies; Graves died in 2010, days before his 84th birthday.
Here’s how The New York Times summed up Arness’ family life after he died: “In 1948, he married Virginia Chapman and adopted her son by a previous marriage, Craig. The couple had two children, Jenny and Rolf, and were divorced in 1963. In 1978 he married Janet Surtees; they lived in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. She and Rolf Arness survive him, along with a stepson, Jim Surtees. Survivors also include six grandchildren and a great- grandchild. Jenny Arness died in 1975, and Craig in 2004.”
2013 Akron Beacon Journal
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