Soap Opera Digest, once called the “bible” of the soap opera industry, has ceased publishing weekly editions. A spokesperson for A360, which owns the magazine, confirms the news to Soap Hub.
Soap Opera Digest: Final Issue
“Soap Opera Digest, like many other brands, is adjusting its print frequency and shifting more resources to digital to better accommodate its audience,” a spokesperson for A360 says.
Rumors of the change started circulating Friday morning. Sources share with Soap Hub that staffers at the magazine were informed of the decision earlier that day. The title isn’t going away completely. The publisher will produce four print editions of Digest throughout the year.
More Prosperous Times
Soap Opera Digest launched in November 1975 as a monthly periodical. The premiere edition featured cast members from Love of Life, including John Aniston (Eddie Aleata), Birgitta Tolksdorf (Arlene Lovett), Jerry Lacey (Rick Latimer), Tudi Wiggins (Meg Hart), Audrey Peters (Vanessa Sterling) and Ron Tomme (Bruce Sterling). In 1995, the magazine provided updates on those actors; Peters attended the magazine’s gala 20th anniversary party in New York City.
The magazine once had a circulation of 1.5 million. As publication deadlines got close to air times over the years, Digest was able to bring more timely news to its readers. In today’s world, news is published in real-time, adversely affecting magazine sales. In the 1990s, the magazine was competing against other publications, including Soap Opera Update, Soap Opera Weekly, Soap Opera NOW! (all three of which had launched in the 1980s), Soap Opera Magazine, Soap Opera News, Soaps In Depth, and Soap Dish, among others.
Soap Opera Digest: End of an Era
Digest became the final weekly print magazine solely dedicated to soap operas after Soaps In Depth shuttered its publication in May 2020.
According to the Alliance for Audited Media, for the six months ending June 30, 2023, Soap Opera Digest had an average total paid and verified circulation of 43,743. The magazine’s final weekly issue features Young and the Restless‘s Lauralee Bell (Christine), Michael Damian (Danny), and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis).
(Editor’s note: Michael Maloney, the author of this story, worked at Soap Opera Digest from 1991 to 1997, holding various titles, including West Coast Editor.)