Nobody Thought to Update the ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Rights for the Streaming Age [Indie Wire]

Nobody Thought to Update the ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Rights for the Streaming Age [Indie Wire]

BY TONY MAGLIO

December 16, 2023 | It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — except on subscription streaming, where you still can’t find classic Rankin/Bass holiday specials like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

“Rudolph,” the 1964 Animagic stop-motion TV special was produced by Videocraft International — later renamed Rankin/Bass — for broadcast network NBC and sponsor General Electric. (GE owned NBC decades before “Rudolph” and decades after, but not during.) Five years later, Rankin/Bass Productions, now actually named Rankin/Bass Productions after Videocraft founders Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, made the animated “Frosty the Snowman” special for broadcast network CBS.

In 1972 “Rudolph” joined “Frosty” at CBS, where they have remained for more than 50 years. In recent times, “Rudolph” and “Frosty” have also been a part of the Disney-owned cable channel Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” marathons. Though they run simultaneously, broadcast and cable are contractually considered different “windows” here, several sources with knowledge of the deals told IndieWire. The Rankin/Bass specials are also available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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