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Don’t Boycott ABC Daytime…Buy Them!

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Like many ABC Daytime soap fans, I am reeling from this week’s firings of some of my favorite soap stars; but, I have not been watching Adam Chandler, Asa Buchanan, and Edward Quartermaine all these years for nothing. I know what to do when a company pisses me off: buy them!

Rebecca Herbst and Jonathan Jackson 2010

Fantasizing about firing ABC Daytime executives is a popular parlor game among dissatisfied soap fans, but this week’s firing of popular General Hospital actor Rebecca Herbst, who portrays Elizabeth Webber, Dr. Steve Hardy’s granddaughter, has long-time fans lashing out with unusual vigor. According to Soap Opera Digest, ABC claims the ouster is “storyline dictated.” Long-time soap pundit, Carolyn Hinesy patronizingly hypothesized, “soaps are a business…kids,” as if our pretty, little heads cannot comprehend strategic business and economic decision-making.

Anecdotally, fans claim to be flooding the network with letters, emails, and phone calls. Passionate fan pleas on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, and podcasts call for boycotting ABC Daytime during the critical February Sweeps period. ABC Daytime has upset fans before. Doubtless, they even anticipated the usual flurry of audience backlash this time. What ABC/DISNEY absolutely does not expect is for their predominantly female audience to fight back in a way that could give them a voice in the governance and future direction of the entire company.

Disney is a publicly traded corporation, which means they answer to shareholders. Every Disney shareholder, whether they own one share or a million, has a right to attend the Annual Shareholder Meeting, vote for the Board of Directors, and receive regular updates on corporate finances and strategic, future plans. Even if a shareholder cannot attend the Annual Disney Shareholders Meeting, they are provided an opportunity to vote via proxy through mail or electronically. Every shareholder has one vote per share owned, but even with a single share, you can vote to retain or replace Board Members who share your vision for Disney/ABC.

Friday, Disney (DIS) stock closed near $40 per share. The price range for Disney stock over the past year has been between $28.71 and $40. Essentially, for less than $40, you can own a piece of ABC/DISNEY. Suddenly, you are no longer “just a soap fan” to be ignored; you are part-owner of the whole shebang.

Obviously, with nearly two billion shares of Disney stock outstanding, one share is de minimus in its real impact, but the symbolic impact of ABC soap fans collectively empowering themselves to participate in the Disney corporate process should not be underestimated. If nothing else, it might demonstrate to ABC Daytime executives, the soap audience is no longer at home eating bon bons and clutching their June Cleaver pearls. Instead, we are busy reviewing Disney financial statements, discussing ABC Media Division’s strategic plans, and actively seeking ways to align with other major shareholders or Board Members who might sympathize with our concern for the imperiled future of the current network business model.

Imagine the power of starting your letters to ABC/DISNEY with the words, “As a Disney share-holder, I am writing to express my concern…” As a stockowner, you can legitimately expand your communication to Disney’s Investor Relations and the Disney Board of Directors, rather than just the usual suspects at the ABC Daytime division who routinely ignore soap fans.

Stockholder or not, any interested soap fan can listen in for free on Disney Earnings Calls and Webcasts, such as the upcoming presentation on Disney’s 1st Quarter Financial Results, scheduled for February 8, 2011 and featuring Disney CEO Bob Iger. Imagine the collective corporate shock if even a few hundred ABC Daytime fans suddenly start listening to Earnings Calls and watching live Disney Executive webcasts. That’s when fans will no longer have their legitimate concerns ignored.

You may already own a piece of Disney/ABC and not realize it. If you have a 401(k) or other pension plan, your portfolio may include Disney stock. Call your Human Resources Officer or contact your 401(k) account manager to find out if you already “own” Disney.

There are a number of ways to purchase a stock. Even if you have no experience with stock purchase, the process is nothing to fear. If your personal bank has a financial adviser, you can contact them about purchasing one or more shares of Disney stock for you. This may be the least expensive way to obtain a share of Disney.

Another relatively inexpensive way to acquire a share of Disney stock is OneShare, a company specializing in providing high profile company stocks as gifts for children, special occasions, etc. Disney is one of the companies on OneShare’s roster of approximately 150 popular corporate stocks. The cost of using OneShare is the cost of the stock plus a Certificate Fee of $39. There are no other minimum purchases or fees required. These are real stocks with voting privileges and all other indicia of corporate ownership.

Disney itself has a direct share purchase program. Disney’s program has a one-time $10 enrollment fee plus minimal fees for purchases, sales, and termination. Disney requires a minimum investment is $250 or authorization of monthly bank deductions of at least $50.

There are also internet brokerage firms that permit the purchase of single shares with limited investment, and small brokerage fees under $10. Some of these include Scottrade, E*Trade, Ameritrade, and others. Be aware, some of these brokerage firms require a minimum deposit of $500 to open an account.

The point is:  owning just one share of Disney stock provides additional leverage and credibility when contacting ABC Daytime. Disney stock ownership costs less than the typical price of attending one personal appearance for your favorite ABC Daytime star. If you feel strongly about the future of the soap genre and scripted daytime programming, empower and educate yourself in the best tradition of the soapy corporate raiders we have enjoyed watching for years. Buy the company, and have a voice in its future.

 

*The information above does not constitute investment advice. Prior to making any investment, a prospective investor should consult with their own investment, accounting, legal and tax advisers to evaluate independently the risks, consequences, and suitability of that investment.

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  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Well, it’s great to see one of my best soap buddies submit a piece to BC! You know how I feel! Soap operas have served a great purpose in American society since the days of radio. While the majority in the industry would like to minimize the effect of soap opera on our culture, the truth is the daytime serial has helped shape the opinions of millions!

    You are right on target. Don’t boycott ABC, either buy them or find a way to get to their bottom line! As Bill Clinton used to say, “it’s the economy, stupid!” American television viewers are consumers of the studio’s products. It’s time to have a little more accountability and accommodation between networks and their “customers”! Bravo, Spins! Great article!

  • Emily K.

    February sweeps needs to be boycotted.

    Both can be done. Because both go to the bottom line.

    All sweeps need to be boycotted.

    But I’ve turned off the show for good. Mr. Frons made it clear he doesn’t value the product he’s selling and I’m not a customer he values. I’m giving CBS my value.

  • 96meimei

    Oh Ms. Hinesy you suck…kids.
    Calling my broker today buying some stock just so I can tell them how much they make me ill.
    I wouldn’t watch that show again on a red, hot bet. Guza, Frons et al. dear old Walt is spinning in his grave. They are really SLOW anf I hope they reap the lowest ratings ever for this DUMB, DUMB move.

  • Darcy

    Rebecca Herbst was pushed out because of upstairs politics and favoritism..she has so much story on the table its mind-boggling not to mention the story they “refuse” to tell but I think this is a good idea. I don’t know much about how to go about this never bought stock before but I’m willing to buy a few shares anything to be rid of the GH’s current regime — “The triad of destruction” has ate away at the show bit by bit to its very core…its only a shell of a once great soap. Its limping along I’m sad to see it this way but I think its by design to be rid of them altogether. Noone can be this stupid to continue this blatant disregard to undermine the show.

    Thanks for the tip

  • Rachelle

    Done with the show from now on. Won’t buy thier stock either, why waste my time and money on a company that doesn’t value our oppinion

  • Kimberly

    This is insane. Do you realize what you are saying? Purchasing stock in a major conglomerate is not going to help you get people back on a soap opera which is just a small area of that huge corporation. People come and go on TV shows and in business. Yes it is sad but in no way is it the end of the world. Nor do I think pushing the price of stock is a way to change things.

  • gina

    i now hate abc and am not watching an abc cooking show da cooking channels are everywhere one life to live is a great soap and so is all my children its a big mistake people who love soaps will go to the other soaps

  • Starling

    Walt Disney was a union-hating POS and he would be THRILLED with Iger’s tactics. He couldn’t outsource American soaps to China like the cheap Disney-licensed toys, so he destroyed them for all time. If Iger lopped $10 million off his bloated compensation package, over 600 American workers could still have jobs. American jobs were destroyed so Iger could have a yacht? A ski-lodge? What does he do with the money he’s stealing from the soaps?

  • Carol

    Boycott ABC and all the products that their advertisers are pushing. Hitting them in the pocketbook is what counts. Also contact ABC and tell them how you feel.

  • Denise

    ABC fans I think the reason that jackass frons is leaving ABC is his been stealing money from the network for years think about it his cancels two great soaps to save money thats because his been stealing it and how he wants to leave ABC you’re getting conned big time by frons