‘Tis the season to hit play on some of your favourite holiday films.
For many, that includes binging heart-warming, made-for-TV movies.
“It’s Christmas time, so everybody wants that Christmas feeling,” said pop culture expert Craig Silliphant.
“These movies are cheesy and they’re paper-thin in terms of story and the characters, stuff like that, but they’re just fun to watch on that level.”
The Hallmark Channel originated in 2001, with its Countdown to Christmas event starting in 2009 — but their acclaim is higher than ever before.
“In the last few years, we’ve seen these things have exploded in popularity and even companies like Netflix are making their own sort of carbon copies,” he explained.
“The ratings numbers on these things are massive sometimes in the millions and millions of people.”
In 2018, W Network partnered with Hallmark and delivered its highest audience in at least 15 years, according to data from Numeris.
This year, the company was embroiled in a brief controversy after it pulled TV ads featuring same-sex couples from a wedding registry and planning website. Within days, the CEO of Hallmark Cards announced plans to reverse the decision.
During last year’s Countdown to Christmas, W was the most-watched network on weekends — even surpassing sports.
This year is proving to be no different.
Since the two-month event started on Nov. 1, W ranks as the No. 1 specialty station in Canada for women between 25 and 54.
Associate professor of marketing at the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business, Marjorie Delbaere, said their success, in part, is because they’ve found a formula that works — and they don’t deviate from it.
“They are marketing an experience that many of us are seeking out,” Delbaere said. “We’re craving this wonderful feeling of positivity around the holidays.”
“They’ve figured out what really resonates with people and what they like — and we know what to expect. Sometimes we don’t want the unexpected.”
She noted when other companies mimic that strategy, “it’s because they’ve seen that it does work and it is effective.”
Part of that formula also includes a line-up of familiar faces.
“They have brought a lot of 90s, especially female, stars back in what amounts to a lot of nostalgia,” Silliphant said.
“They’re pulling at these strings and creating these big new brands in the smaller brand that people can continue to follow.”
Whether it’s the season, or a quick escape from real life, based on the trends we’re seeing now — expect the Christmas movie empire to keep dominating.
“You see fatigue with certain things, but I think right now they seem to be on the up-and-up,” Silliphant said.