How many Hallmark Christmas movies

Ho-ho-Hallmark: With trashy Christmas films from mass production to a TV phenomenon

We did a quick test here in the OMR Office: What are your colleagues' favorite Christmas films? There weren't any big surprises with the answers. Right at the front are classics like “Kevin - Alone at Home”, “Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella” and “The Little Lord”. On the other hand, the creations of the perhaps largest Christmas group, Hallmark, are not represented once. From October to mid-January, the company's own US TV channel mainly runs its own trash productions - making the so-called “Countdown to Christmas” the cable program with the greatest reach in the US.

Originally, the American family company Hallmark was primarily known for its rather kitschy Christmas and greeting cards for all other conceivable occasions. The business with the folded cards, which are often decorated with plush bears or other knick-knacks, is going quite well. Hallmark is likely to be the world market leader, a few years ago the global market share was around 35 percent according to its own statements.

The (Christmas) trash on paper was not enough for Hallmark to send. For a few years now, the company has been firing a trash Christmas film fireworks on a continuous loop during the “Countdown to Christmas” on the company's own TV station. From October to mid-January only (rather unimportant) festival formats run. 24 hours a day, day in and day out. Hallmark produces around 40 such contemplative blockbusters on its own every year. And similar to the family recipe for a really boring cookie dough, the knitting pattern of the X-Mas stripes doesn't change either. Large, harmonious families, cozy knitted sweaters, friendly American small towns, everything is baked (the recipe for the cookie dough is guaranteed to be perfect!) And the fireplace crackles in the background.

Hallmark's “Countdown to Christmas” (screenshot: hallmarkchannel.com).

Christmas idyll as a corporate strategy

In “New Yorker” Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media, Hallmark's entertainment division, recently explained the strategy behind this Christmas overkill: They want to create a place away from politics, to which one can withdraw when problems arise in real life there. The fact that this approach is more than just a hit, on the contrary, has really great success, should be made clear by the following figures: In the female target group of 25-55 year olds, Hallmark is currently the most successful and wide-reaching program on American cable television. And across all films, the aforementioned “Countdown to Christmas” in this quarter is actually the broadest-reaching program in the USA - and thus the largest holiday season advertising space in the USA.

The extent to which trash is apparently anchored in the company has recently also been shown at another point. The station had stopped broadcasting commercials for a wedding planning website that featured a newlywed lesbian couple. The company has since apologized for this. Well then: Merry Christmas.

Our buddies Tobias Bauckhage and Jon Handschin wrote about the Hallmark phenomenon in their “Post from LA” newsletter. By the way, we would like to warmly recommend this to you in case you always want to get the latest news, insights and rumors from the US entertainment industry straight to your mailbox in the future. The current issue also deals with another phenomenon: the globally successful video game Fortnite, a deal with Star Wars and the entry into the business of live events. This way to subscribe!