Christmas movie season is well underway, and Hallmark Channel is embracing it as they always do. But this year is a bit different for the channel that brings viewers A Christmas Detour and A Christmas Melody. Viewers are flocking to the channel outside of just its holiday programming, and advertisers are smart to follow them.

Ratings are reflecting higher viewership numbers for the channel, with viewership rising 3 percent in 2015 (up 4 percent in key demos) on Hallmark and 33 percent on its sister channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

And in an industry right now where stagnant ratings are something to celebrate, Crown Media Holdings Inc.’s Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries are taking advantage of their upbeat content to bring in more sponsors, advertising partners and higher-quality programming.

Elsewhere on cable, Time Warner, Comcast and 21st Century Fox are seeing big ratings drops, often in the double digits for the year. But Crown has been hit with a surprise of not only higher viewership averages, but advertising revenue that has increased 17 percent since 2014. Crown’s stock has increased 45 percent as a result.

Hallmark’s series Cedar Cove and When Calls the Heart are bringing in younger viewers to the network often thought to be reserved for the over-50 crowd, and advertisers have taken notice. Analysts tell the Wall Street Journal that sponsors are attracted to the safe programming over edgy alternatives, and the channels’ demographics are expected to stick with pay-TV subscriptions a little longer (“The audience Hallmark targets aren’t the ones cutting the cord,” Twinleaf Management’s Spencer Grimes told WSJ).

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Brief Take: The crown jewel of Hallmark’s programming has only just begun, with “Countdown to Christmas” presenting big names in family-friendly holiday fare, including the ratings-boosting Candace Cameron Bure in A Christmas Detour and Mariah Carey in A Christmas Melody.

[Image courtesy of Hallmark Channel]


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