Why Is “Rudolph” and “Frosty the Snowman” Not Streaming? – IndieWire

It’s starting to look rather a lot like Christmas — besides on subscription streaming, the place you nonetheless can’t discover traditional Rankin/Bass vacation specials like “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer.”

“Rudolph,” the 1964 Animagic stop-motion TV particular was produced by Videocraft Worldwide — later renamed Rankin/Bass — for broadcast community NBC and sponsor Normal Electrical. (GE owned NBC a long time earlier than “Rudolph” and a long time after, however not throughout.) 5 years later, Rankin/Bass Productions, now truly named Rankin/Bass Productions after Videocraft founders Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, made the animated “Frosty the Snowman” particular for broadcast community CBS.

In 1972 “Rudolph” joined “Frosty” at CBS, the place they’ve remained for greater than 50 years. In current instances, “Rudolph” and “Frosty” have additionally been part of the Disney-owned cable channel Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” marathons. Although they run concurrently, broadcast and cable are contractually thought-about totally different “home windows” right here, a number of sources with data of the offers informed IndieWire. The Rankin/Bass specials are additionally obtainable on DVD and Blu-ray.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 12: Metro Boomin attends the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Bradley Cooper and Michael Mann

the place “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” haven’t been obtainable? Subscription-streaming video, i.e. Netflix & mates. The longstanding CBS broadcast rights don’t carry over to sister streamer Paramount+, and Freeform’s cable deal doesn’t convey the specials to Disney+ or Hulu. NBCUniversal distributes “Rudolph” and “Frosty” — however they’re not on its streamer, Peacock, both.

It technically can be incorrect, nonetheless, to say that “Rudolph” and “Frosty” aren’t streaming anyplace. They’re obtainable for buy on PVOD (paid video-on-demand) platforms, like Amazon Prime Video (although not free with a Prime Video membership), Apple TV (notice: not +), Vudu, and others. If all you need for Christmas is a digital copy of “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer,” it’ll price you $7.99.

Clearly, digital rights weren’t conceptualized through the Rankin/Bass heyday. Then once more, VHS tapes weren’t even totally fashioned, not to mention the DVD and Blu-ray codecs. Nonetheless, there are many examples of TV from the mid-Twentieth-century on present-day SVOD platforms: Paramount+ alone has “I Love Lucy” (’50s), the unique “Star Trek” (’60s), and O.G. “The Twilight Zone” (’50s and ’60s).

Different traditional animated vacation specials from the period have discovered their approach to SVOD. Apple TV+ went to market on the shoulders of its dear Peanuts rights, together with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which was CBS’ 1965 reply to NBC’s “Rudolph.” Today, Linus dismantles commercialism completely on streamer for the world’s solely $3 trillion firm.

No, the issue right here isn’t the age of the Rankin/Bass vacation specials. The issue with “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer” the TV particular is “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer,” the track, we’re informed.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, from left, Shermy, Sally Brown, Violet, Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Patty, Schroeder, Frieda, Pig-Pen, Snoopy, aired December 9, 1965.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted in 1965 on CBS and now streams on Apple TV+Courtesy Everett Assortment

Rights to the “Rudolph” and “Frosty” songs (and different pre-1974 Rankin/Bass songs) have turned over (and over) by company acquisitions. The catalogs as soon as belonged to Basic Media, which was bought by DreamWorks Animation, which was then bought by NBCUniversal. It’s NBCU’s enterprise affairs group that’s making an attempt to catch the music rights up with the instances — and so they’re getting there.

Checking out the EST (digital sell-through) rights for “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer,” the 1949 Johnny Marks track, allowed “Rudolph” the TV particular to increase home-entertainment gross sales to incorporate one-time downloads to a tough drive — as long as the Marks Property will get a bit. The mathematics just isn’t too laborious to determine: promote a duplicate, make a buck (or regardless of the price is).

What is way extra sophisticated is dicing up the subscription income of tens of hundreds of thousands of customers, most of whom won’t ever watch the particular or stream the track — however NBCU is engaged on it (and dealing on it, and dealing on it). At this price, it could be a Christmas miracle if this all will get sorted out earlier than “Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer,” the track, enters public area.

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