Every year on Christmas Eve Swedes gather around the TV to indulge in perhaps their greatest national pastime: watching a 60-year-old Disney cartoon featuring Donald Duck. And it turns out the pull of Kalle Anka is so strong that the tech-loving Scandinavians even briefly put down their phones down.
According to mobile provider Telenor, data usage on their network dropped by 28 percent during the hour when the Disney cartoon aired last Christmas.
When Donald was finished doing his thing, data levels shot up again – though they were 12 percent lower on Christmas Eve in general compared with an average day.
“We have a dip that doesn’t reappear any other day in the year. It’s a unique occurrence during exactly that hour. The conclusion is that people put down their mobiles and devote themselves to watching that programme,” Telenor’s network expert Magnus Österholm told news agency TT.
Known in Sweden as “Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas” (Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul), the dubbed version of Disney Christmas special From All of Us to All of You has been shown in Sweden at 3pm every Christmas Eve since 1959.
It is regularly among the three most-watched TV shows in Sweden each year. Along with pulling Swedes away from their mobiles, Donald is so popular that there is even a phenomenon known as the “Donald Duck effect”, where calls to the emergency services drop by around 20 percent while he’s on the screen.