This year, the Hallmark Channel and its Hallmark Movies spinoff are combining to show 21 original holiday-themed movies, up from just 13 original holiday movies five years ago. In addition, Lifetime has seven holiday movies of its own, and plenty of previously aired holiday movies will make the rounds on these and other channels between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why the explosion of holiday movies?
According to the LA Times:
These holiday movies are proliferating because they’re cheap to produce, generate strong ratings and lots of advertising revenue for the television networks. Hallmark parent Crown Media Holdings credited its holiday programming for helping to spur an 11% increase in advertising revenue last year to $328 million.
November and December are key months for advertisers that want to get in front of consumers in festive moods. Advertisers spent $13.8 billion on television spots during November and December last year, comprising 18% of all ad dollars spent in 2014, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.
“Advertisers are attracted to eyeballs,” said Jason Maltby, head TV buyer at the prominent advertising agency Mindshare. “There’s the added benefit that holiday programming tends to be upbeat and positive, and you’re always looking to put your brand message in an environment that makes people feel good.”
Nothing gets TV networks in the Holiday Spirit like advertising dollars, and because TV movies such as these come with a built-in audience who knows what to expect, they don’t have to spend that much money to produce them. Black Friday isn’t just good for retailers this year: it’s good for niche cable TV networks as well, ringing in the season that keeps the registers ringing too.