Overworked published professionals, aspiring advertising executives, and lonely bakers: rejoice! The Hallmark Channel is coming to Peacock, where they won’t just be saving Christmas this year but also America’s most beleaguered, well-financed, and forgettable streamer.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, The Hallmark Channel, the purveyor of a steady stream of holiday-themed rom-coms that teach stodgy city dwellers the meaning of a smalltown Christmas, will have its own hub on Peacock, complete with live streams of Hallmark’s linear channels (Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama) and that all-important library of on-demand stocking stuffers. The deal is similar to what Peacock did with Bravo and NBC, which recently came home to the Comcast galaxy after the networks’ contract with Hulu expired.
“We’re proud to enter this partnership with Peacock and bring our widely beloved Hallmark content to their subscribers,” added Wonya Lucas, president and CEO of Hallmark Media. “The opportunity to provide our devoted fanbase access to all three of Hallmark’s linear networks will allow our audience to continue to grow and connect in meaningful ways.”
These made-for-TV Christmas movies have become a big deal in recent years. Aside from the emergence of Christmas Con, where fans can meet stars Lacey Chabert and Melissa Joan Hart, and competition from channels like Lifetime, Netflix realized a couple of years ago that they could also make light holiday movies for the fraction of a Gray Man. As a result, over the past few years, Netflix has turned these notoriously cheap and quick-to-produce movies into a large slice of their holiday offerings. The array of pricier, more star-studded, and better-advertised Netflix Christmas movies has caused Hallmark to baton down the hatches.
Each year, companies like Lifetime, Hallmark, and Netflix produce dozens of these movies for their respective channels. In 2017, Hallmark brought in more than 85 million viewers, which ain’t half bad for films produced in less than a month for about $2 million. Vox reports:
While Hallmark routinely places in the top 20 and even the top 10 among cable channels in its key demographics (women 25 to 54 and women 18 to 49) during the rest of the year, it immediately vaulted into first place in November, a position it should maintain throughout December. The opening weekend of the channel’s annual Christmaspalooza drew 15.2 million unique viewers in 2016, but in 2017, it pulled in 17.6 million unique viewers, a 16 percent increase.
Those numbers have only continued to rise in 2018, which has seen 69.2 million unique viewers across the various Hallmark channels (Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama, which all fall under the umbrella of Crown Media Family Networks) through Sunday, December 16. At that trajectory, the company just might crack 90 million viewers by the time its Christmas extravaganza ends in early January. And it shouldn’t have any trouble topping last year’s total of just over 85 million viewers.
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At the very least, this will finally give someone a reason to boot up Peacock and possibly discover a wide selection of entertainment there. Hey, it could happen.