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The Appetite for Christmas Movies Hasn’t Peaked Yet

Like radio stations who switch to Christmas music weeks before Thanksgiving, the two biggest purveyors of holiday TV movies got a (very) early start on the season this year.

The strategy has paid off.

Hallmark Channel and Lifetime both kicked off their annual slates of Christmas movies in late October — a first for Lifetime and the third straight year Hallmark has done so. Both channels are getting solid returns by going all-in on the holidays, both with originals and their burgeoning libraries of past movies.

Through Dec. 1, Hallmark Channel has aired 16 new holiday movies — including one every night of Thanksgiving Week — and averaged about 2.9 million same-day viewers for each. Lifetime has rolled out 18 films, drawing just over 1 million per movie.

Lifetime also says that the first month of “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” programming, featuring two or more original films each week, has helped increase the network’s primetime viewership by 40 percent over the same time frame a year ago. The network has also been running holiday movies from its library for virtually its entire broadcast day, with viewership growing by 36 percent vs. 2018. It’s also up 13 percent in its core demographic of women 25-54 during the day.

Nielsen’s “reach” data — the number of people who catch at least a couple minutes of a program, usually far more than the average viewer count — don’t say a lot about the sustained audience for a given movie. They can, however, be a decent measure of how widely a program travels. By that yardstick, Lifetime’s and Hallmark’s movies have traveled quite far.

Lifetime’s 13 holiday movies from Oct. 25-Nov. 24 reached 52.6 million people. Hallmark’s nine movies in the same time period reached 40.1 million, putting “Countdown to Christmas” on pace to surpass the 85 million who

Article source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/appetite-christmas-movies-hasnt-peaked-1260336

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