“Home for the holidays” conjures many images, and when it comes to watching television during the month of December, that image is probably ad-supported cable television, which accrues over 80% of all gross impressions associated with holiday-themed TV programming.
As 2017 winds down with the holiday season and New Year’s fast approaching, we’ve departed from our standard blog format to concentrate – not on a particular show or major sporting event – but rather on cable programming thematically linked to the upcoming holidays.
In order to do so, we started out by searching the comScore database (for the calendar month of December 2016) utilizing four search terms: “Holiday,” “Christmas,” “Hanukkah” and “Kwanzaa.” In all, the comScore Summary Report returned 1,000 telecasts, which we grouped into one of three major sources of viewing:
When we parsed the holiday-themed cable programs by genre, the appeal of movies came into ultra-sharp focus, with three movie segments in particular comprising the majority of cable’s December holiday offerings: Holiday-themed movies (44%); Comedy-themed movies (15%); and Romance-themed movies (14%):
The “Big 4” of Holiday-Themed Programming
By our count, there are nearly 40 ad-supported cable networks providing holiday-themed programming for the month of December, with four major networks – Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime and Freeform — accruing nearly 80% of all ad-supported gross impressions (which translates into two-thirds of all impressions across all sources of viewing):
In focusing on the “Big 4” holiday cable networks, it’s clear that holiday-themed programming plays a crucial role in their overall December programming lineups. Hallmark Channel, for example, devotes 54% of their total day programming minutes to holiday themed programs. And their respective ratings get quite a boost with holiday-themed programs, which range anywhere from ~90% (Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries), to +100% (Freeform and Lifetime) over and above their non-Holiday themed programming:
Local Cable Advertising
There is tremendous demand for Holiday-themed programming during the last month of the year, and we estimate that 3-4% of total Viamedia company-wide advertising dollars accrue to such programming. Last December 2016, over 1,200 clients ordered 60,000+ 30-second spots on holiday programming across 71 Viamedia markets (practically our entire nation-wide footprint). That comes to an average of 50 commercial units per client.
Source: Viamedia internal analysis of B.I.G.SM database (Sports & High Profile Tracker module.) Copyright © 2017 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Local Cable Product Categories
The five largest local cable advertising categories comprise nearly two-thirds of all advertising investments, and are all associated with the December Holidays, such as year-end automotive sales, retail & grocery shopping, dining out and vacation travel:
A Month Filled with Holiday Programming
As family and friends gather together to enjoy the holiday season, there is sure to be good food, good company and more than enough holiday-themed programming on cable to take everyone through the entire month of December and into the New Year. Enjoy the holidays!
Written by Jonathan Sims
VP of Media Research, Viamedia