A model for the psychological processes that culminate in positive viewing experiences and audience loyalty
to a soap opera is presented. The research was based on a secondary analysis of a qualitative market research
study conducted for the SABC on the soap opera Isidingo. The analysis was conducted within a hermeneutic
phenomenological interpretive framework. The model illustrates how viewers use soap-world knowledge
and real-world knowledge to interpret the characters and storylines of soap operas, and that the degree of
enjoyment the viewer experiences from viewing is dependent on the quality of the mental models formed of
these respective components. The role that transportation, realism, social influences and timeslot play in the
engagement process is also defined.