No Thanksgiving Ratings Feast for Charlie Brown

The perennial animated holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” apparently didn’t entice viewers to Apple TV+ or PBS, the exclusive  distributors of the Emmy Award-winning 1973 special.

New data from Samba TV found 670,000 domestic households watched or streamed “Charlie Brown” in the nine days following its Nov. 20 release on Apple TV+ and Nov. 22 bow on PBS. That was 67% fewer viewers than the 2 million households than tuned into ABC TV to watch the show last year.

The largest single-day total viewership was on Nov 22 when Charlie aired on PBS with 381,000 households tuning in. Thanksgiving itself drew just 140,000 households tuning in, according to Samba.

Other holiday viewing traditions such as football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade fared only slightly better. The parade saw a 3% uptick in viewers to 12.1 million households. The Houston Texans win over the Detroit Lions on CBS drew 13.1 million households, which was down 6% from 2019 when the game was on Fox Sports.

Another 13.2 million households watched The Washington Football Team best the hapless NFC East Dallas Cowboys on Fox, which was down 12% compared to the same time last Thanksgiving when the game was on NBC.

Report: Disney+ Generated $270 Million in ‘Mulan’ PVOD Sales

The Walt Disney Co.’s calculated foray into premium VOD distribution for original movie Mulan reportedly has been a fiscal home run. Yahoo! Finance, citing data from 7Park Data, contends the movie has been purchased by 9 million Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 each through Sept. 12. That tally would suggest the $200 million budget movie, which was released on Sept. 4, has generated an impressive $270 million in direct-to-consumer revenue.

Unlike a typical PVOD transaction that gives a viewer a limited time period, usually 48 hours, to watch the movie, the Disney PVOD system, dubbed Premier Access, is set up to allow Disney+ subscribers to pay the premium fee to unlock the movie on Disney+ for as long as they are subscribers, effectively giving those who pay early access to the movie before it becomes available to all subscribers in a few months.

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App download tracking firm Sensor Tower previously disclosed that downloads of the Disney+ app skyrocketed 68% through the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 4-6), compared with the previous-week time period. Samba TV, which tracks viewership on smart TVs, reported that 1.1 million U.S. households watched Mulan on Labor Day weekend.

Disney has not officially released any Mulan sales data, but CFO Christine McCarthy Sept. 10 told an investor group the media giant was “very pleased” with PVOD sales data thus far.

The results, if true, would be another dagger to the theatrical window and suggests that Disney’s theatrical brand resonates (at significantly higher margin) as much with consumers in the home as at movie theaters. Disney generated a staggering $11.1 billion at the global box office in 2019 — including 33% of all domestic box office ticket sales. It was the first time a studio had controlled that much of the North American box office since 1999, according to Comscore.

Regardless, the movie, which stars Liu Yifei in the iconic Mulan role, had received middling reviews, plenty of controversy over filming locations in China accused of violating the human rights of ethnic Muslims, and lackluster box office sales in the Communist country.