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Viewership Trends and Ad Highlights for ABC’s ‘The Little Mermaid Live!’

Last night, ABC put on a live broadcast production of The Little Mermaid in celebration of the iconic movie’s 30th anniversary, starring Queen Latifah (Ursula), Auli’i Cravalho (Ariel), John Stamos (Chef Louis), Shaggy (Sebastian) and Graham Phillips (Prince Eric).

Critics haven’t been very kind to the spectacle, which was a mash-up of animated scenes and live action — but what about the viewers? We looked at minute-by-minute viewership, courtesy of Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 11 million smart TVs. Viewership peaked about 30 minutes in and was fairly stable until the latter part of the show when it began to dip, suggesting that even if critics weren’t loving it, audiences remained fairly engaged for the bulk of the broadcast — or at least, they weren’t tuning out in droves. 

Inscape also provided a look at audience location across U.S. DMAs. In the heatmap below, the darker the color, the more households were tuning in. Hot spots included the Biloxi-Gulfport, MS and Meridian, MS DMAs, as well as others in the Northeast and Midwestern areas of the country. 

Turning to the brand side of things, in total there were nearly 354 million TV ad impressions from commercials during the broadcast, according to iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. The most-seen spot was the movie trailer for Universal Pictures’ “Dolittle,” with nearly 11 million TV ad impressions, followed by Sleep Number’s “Automatically Adjusts: Save $1,000” (10.3 million impressions) and “More Together: Found by the Hounds” promoting Facebook Groups (9.8 million impressions). 

It’s also worth noting that Disney+, which launches November 12 (and will have the original Little Mermaid), aired two ads last night: a general promotion for the streaming service, “We’re All Connected,” generated over 6 million impressions, while a spot for the upcoming live action “Lady and the Tramp,” available on Disney+ at launch, generated 5.3 million impressions.

Photo by Allie Smith from Pexels