Proctor and Gamble, the company that gave “soap operas” their name, has withdrawn its sponsorship of the last daytime TV show. After 77 years of advertising its Tide detergent and Ivory soap on shows like “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns,” P&G is going online, specifically it is focusing on the social web.

The company is not deserting TV altogether, at least not yet, but the amount of money it is still spending on television commercials is nominal, and its push online is substantial.

Marc Pritchard, marketing head of Proctor and Gamble, told

“The digital media has pretty much exploded. It’s become very integrated with how we operate. It’s become part of the way we do marketing.”

The last show sponsored entirely by Proctor and Gamble, “As the World Turns” had lost two-thirds of its audience by September, and was subsequently canceled. P&G had sponsored almost two dozen shows over the years, but the migration online did not leave women, their core viewership and customer base, behind.

Big companies are like aircraft carriers. It takes forever for them to turn, and P&G is nothing if not a big company. However, this is not the company’s first foray onto the social web. You may have heard some whisper regarding their social media campaign for a men’s fragrance.