All My Children and One Life to Live, the decades-old ABC soap operas initially scheduled to wind down this year, will live on as Web shows, the network announced Thursday.
Prospect Park, a two-year old media and production company, purchased the rights to the programs. According to ABC’s announcement of the deal, Prospect Park will distribute the new episodes “via online formats and additional emerging platforms including Internet-enabled television sets.”
In April, ABC said it was canceling the two series, citing falling ratings and changing audience habits. Nonetheless, the shows are still watched by millions of viewers each week. For the week of June 20-24, One Life to Live drew an estimated 2,737,000 viewers, according to Nielsen data. All My Children drew an estimated 2,305,000 viewers.
The soaps’ move to the Web could present a new test for the viability of online television, a field that several major companies have shown interest in pursing. Hulu, an online provider of network shows, had approximately 27 million unique visitors in February and is worth an estimated $2 billion. Netflix has also announced that it will present an online-only political drama, House of Cards, which will premiere in late 2012.