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Hallmark vs Netflix: Christmas Edition

By Matt Chieco

The Christmas season has arrived, and with it, the Hallmark Christmas movies. With a staggering number of films, including fifty-four released just in 2020 alone, the network has become synonymous with the holiday season. Although they each present different stories, these movies often follow the same heartwarming formula, causing one to blur into another. Surprisingly, this isn't necessarily a negative aspect. These movies offer a form of escapism, something that has been particularly sought after in the tumultuous year that is 2020.

Back in 2017, the Hallmark Channel was projected to rake in $390 million in ad revenue, an impressive feat for movies that cost around $2 million to produce.

Recent statistics reveal that the network has garnered over 80 million viewers annually, surpassing the viewership of popular Netflix titles like 'The Irishman' and 'Tiger King.' Netflix's response? Producing their own moderately-budgeted, formulaic Christmas movies—somewhat reminiscent of Hallmark's approach. Netflix dipped its toes into the holiday genre with 'A Christmas Prince' in 2017. While Netflix usually refrains from sharing viewership figures, they did drop some hints about the film's popularity in a 2017 tweet.

Since then, Netflix has produced around fourteen similar movies, including titles like 'The Princess Switch,' 'The Knight Before Christmas,' and their latest release, 'Operation Christmas Drop,' which has maintained its position in Netflix’s top 10 list since its debut.

However, even though Hallmark appears to have the upper hand, Netflix possesses a significant advantage. Given Netflix's extensive content library, it's easy for users who initially open the app to watch one thing to get sidetracked and end up watching something completely different. For instance, if someone finishes watching an episode of 'Stranger Things,' Netflix can promptly present them with ads for 'Operation Christmas Drop.' The Hallmark Channel, on the other hand, faces limitations in that area.

Perhaps, if Hallmark were to launch its own streaming service featuring all of their movies, the competition in terms of advertising might level the playing field with Netflix. Until then, we'll have to wait and see who emerges as the true victor in this ongoing battle that's bound to intensify in the years to come.

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