Did Zynga’s Farmville and similar apps kill the soap opera?

An interesting theory has been posited by Adweek, concerning the mostly-concurrent rise of social gaming via social networks- like FarmVille on Facebook- and the death of daytime soaps.

A few weeks ago, two long-running TV soaps were cut from ABC’s lineup- One Life to Live and All My Children following Guiding Light and As the World Turns into the daytime TV sunset. Essentially, theorizes Adweek, games like FarmVille, CityVille and Mafia Wars shoved soap operas out of their once-cushy spot as the midday pastime of people who spend the majority of their day at home. The site lays out the stats behind the hypothesis:

When Zynga–publisher of massively popular Facebook games such as FarmVille and CityVille–arrived on the scene in 2007, both All My Children and One Life to Live were averaging a 1.9 rating among women 25-54. By 2011 the two shows were averaging 1.3 and 1.4 ratings respectively in that key viewer group. The drop is even steeper for other demographics. Meanwhile, by April 2009, Zynga was reaching 40 million monthly active players on Facebook, according to comScore. These days, the game has over 47 million players each month while the more recent hit, CityVille, attracts a staggering 88 million active participants.

The idea isn’t even a new one, but it’s kind of an interesting- if one-dimensional (correlation doesn’t equal causation, first and foremost)- supposition. The reality is probably a bit more complex and multi-layered, and culturally, soaps are likely just not as relevant as they once were. Do you think Zynga inadvertently put the final nail in the coffin of daytime soaps? Will you be sad to see them go?

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