A soap opera, or simply a soap, is a serial drama, on television or radio, that features related story lines dealing with the lives of multiple characters. The stories in these series typically focus heavily on emotional relationships to the point of melodrama. The name soap opera stems from the fact that many of the sponsors and producers of the original dramatic serials' broadcast on radio were soap manufacturers. Soap operas are popular at the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia; other countries in Europe also produce some soaps.
A telenovela is a distinct genre, but with some similarities, which is popular in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Unlike soap operas, whose plots run indefinitely, most telenovelas run for a limited time.