Vizio Bows Seasonal Programming With Holiday Home Screen

Vizio is promoting a collection of seasonal programming with its Holiday Greeting Cards activation on the home screen.

The last four such programs saw an average five times lift in engagement, according to Vizio.

Vizio is using capabilities in its new home screen, including expandable greeting cards with auto-play video linking to curated movies, shows, music playlists, DIY projects, cooking specials, and more. The holiday display featuring Romance: Under the Mistletoe, Comedy: Laughing all the Way, Free: ‘Tis the Season for Free, Kids & Family: Home for the Holidays, Movies: Snowed in Marathon, and Shows: Binge-mas. In its first week, the Season’s Greeting carousel has garnered two times the engagement of the average carousel, according to Vizio.

Vizio’s home screen Halloween carousel in October featured 3D-like tombstones inviting users to explore genres including kids and families, horror, and comedy, yielding an engagement five times higher than the same placement average.

Teaming up with Fox Now, Vizio also delivered a custom home screen campaign featuring floating Lego bricks that directed viewers to ungated episodes of “Lego Masters” in WatchFree+, generating a 52% higher click-through rate than the average benchmark, according to Vizio.

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“We’re excited to offer home screen opportunities that make content search and discovery more enjoyable on Vizio Smart TVs,” Liz Buhn, VP of platform and content marketing at Vizio, said in a statement. “Through close collaboration with our media and entertainment partners, we enhance and elevate the viewing experience for millions. By fostering creativity and innovation, we can create engaging experiences that captivate audiences in new ways.”

‘Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas’ Due on PBS, PBS.org, PBS App Dec. 18

The holiday special “Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas” is headed to PBS (9-10 p.m. EST), PBS.org and the PBS app Dec. 18.

In her latest holiday special, Dame Mary Berry travels to her mother’s homeland, Scotland. Inspired by her own family holidays, Mary cooks up an array of dishes, joined by three friends: former world number one tennis player and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray; BAFTA Award-winning comedian, writer and “Love Island” narrator Iain Stirling; and singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé. They share stories, memories and indulgent Christmas dishes.

“I’ve always been incredibly proud of my Scottish heritage, so where better to get cozy and cook for the holidays than in the Scottish Highlands,” Dame Mary said in a statement.

The new special finds Mary preparing favorite holiday dishes, many of which are inspired by her family’s roots in Scotland. On the menu is a Christmas Cranachan Pavlova Wreath, combining the traditional Scottish dessert made from oats, fruit and cream with a pavlova twist. And during a visit to tennis legend Andy Murray’s hotel in Dunblane, Mary, Andy and his grandmother cook up the classic breakfast dish Kedgeree. 

Mary shares her festive Smoked Salmon and Guacamole canape recipe, followed by a Fennel and Onion Tarte Tatin. Iain Stirling attempts to herd some reindeer while Mary rustles up an indulgent Christmas fondue.

Mary shares her iconic Highland Beef Pie, made with Aberdeen Angus beef and pickled walnuts, and then it’s off to a traditional Scottish celebration known as a ceilidh, where she makes her classic mulled wine for the revelers. Aberdeenshire-raised singer Emeli Sandé pops in to help Mary make her classic Bûche du Noël before surprising her with some visitors — a choir of carolers performing outside the cottage in the snow. 

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Dame Mary Berry is the author of more than 70 books, including the bestselling Mary Berry Cooks, Mary Berry’s Absolute Favorites, Mary Berry At Home and Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. She was the judge on the BBC’s “The Great British Bake Off” (which aired for five seasons on PBS as “The Great British Baking Show”). Following her training at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, Mary began her career as a magazine cookery editor before publishing her first cookbook in 1966. In 2009, Mary was awarded the highly coveted Guild of Food Writers Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2012 she was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu Marketing for the Holidays

Fandango and its Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu sites are marketing for the holidays.

Rotten Tomatoes has created curated watchlists, such as 60 Best Thanksgiving Movies (including Planes, Trains and Automobiles and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) and 100 Best Christmas Movies of All Time (including Home Alone and Love Actually).

Meanwhile parent company and movie ticketing site Fandango and Vudu, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, are offering holiday-themed gift cards for titles in theaters and at home.

Vudu is also featuring deals on titles and collections of holiday favorites across Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as round-ups of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies.

Rotten Tomatoes’ 2023 Holiday Movie Preview also offers a breakdown of what it considers the best flicks that November and December have to offer, including The Marvels, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Wonka, which were named the top three most-anticipated wide releases of the holiday season, respectively, per Fandango’s 2023 Most Anticipated Holiday Movie Survey.

Rotten Tomatoes is also listing Rotten Christmas Movies We Love, the Best International Christmas Movies and Modern Christmas Classics to Add to Your Holiday Movie List.

Also available is a party game Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game.

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Fandango Survey: ‘The Marvels’ Most Anticipated Holiday Movie

The Marvels led the field in the 2023 Most Anticipated Holiday Movies Survey from online movie ticketing service Fandango.

Surveying nearly 2,000 ticket buyers, Fandango found that 83% of moviegoers plan to watch at least one wide-release film in theaters this holiday season, with nearly three-quarters of respondents planning to see at least two films in theaters and 66% saying they are interested in seeing newly released movies with their families. 

The results from Fandango’s 2023 Most Anticipated Holiday Movie Survey are: 

Top 10 Most Anticipated Wide-Release Movies:

  1. The Marvels
  2. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom 
  3. Wonka
  4. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 
  5. Napoleon 
  6. Wish
  7. The Color Purple
  8. Ferrari 
  9. Poor Things 
  10. Godzilla Minus One

 

Top 10 Movies Moviegoers Plan to Purchase on Digital Platforms, such as Vudu, when Available: 

  1. The Marvels 
  2. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom 
  3. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 
  4. Wonka 
  5. Godzilla Minus One 
  6. Napoleon 
  7. Wish
  8. Trolls Band Together 
  9. The Boy and the Heron 
  10. Thanksgiving 

 

Respondents also listed their favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas-themed titles:

Top 10 Favorite Thanksgiving-Themed Movies: 

  1. Knives Out
  2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  3. Addams Family Values
  4. Grumpy Old Men
  5. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  6. Scent of a Woman
  7. Home for the Holidays
  8. Soul Food
  9. Hannah and Her Sisters
  10. The Ice Storm

 

Top 10 Favorite Christmas-Themed Movies: 

  1. Home Alone 
  2. Elf
  3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  4. The Santa Clause 
  5. It’s a Wonderful Life
  6. A Christmas Story
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  9. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  10. Miracle on 34th St

Vizio Bows Shoppable Holiday Series With Home Depot

Vizio Nov. 1 announced the launch of an exclusive shoppable content series “Merry & Bright,” available now and running through Dec. 31.

The branded entertainment series, presented by The Home Depot, is produced by Vizio and is hosted by Grammy-nominated “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, who Vizio brought on for the project.

“Merry & Bright” consists of three 10-minute episodes plus bonus shorts featuring Sparks’ “Holiday Tips and Tricks.” In each episode, Sparks introduces viewers to a family before guiding audiences through the decor transformation process and reveal, all with holiday products and expertise available at The Home Depot.

Each episode will include a holiday makeover ranging from enchanted forests to real-life snow globes to a nostalgic Christmas transformation. By scanning integrated in-episode QR codes, audiences are directed to a custom “shop the look” page on HomeDepot.com where they can add products seen on screen into their shopping cart.

The series can be found on Vizio’s Home Screen Hero, which will spotlight different episodes of the show each week. 

“The shift to streaming is allowing brands to think beyond the traditional 15 and 30-second spot and really become the entertainment,” Katlyn Wilson, director of branded content sales and strategy at Vizio, said in a statement. “It’s exciting to partner with such an established and innovative brand like The Home Depot, who is taking advantage of these opportunities to deliver emotion-led storytelling, centered around Vizio’s audience interests like holiday content and DIY.”

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“Merry & Bright” is produced by Turn Card Content with Audra Smith, Courtney Smith, Jake Haelen and Amy Hurt serving as executive producers. The Vizio “Merry & Bright” partnership was negotiated by The Home Depot’s media agency OMD USA, and orchestrated by The Content Collective, OMD’s content marketing division.

“This partnership exemplifies how shoppable technology is expanding the role of brand storytelling from an upper-to-mid funnel tool to driving immediate commerce action and sales impact,” Brandon Helrich, Group director at OMD’s The Content Collective, said in a statement.

‘Merry Little Batman’ Headed to Prime Video Dec. 8

Merry Little Batman will be available to stream on Prime Video beginning Dec. 8.
 
The animated family action comedy follows young Damian Wayne, who finds himself alone in Wayne Manor on Christmas Eve. He must transform into “Little Batman” in order to defend his home and Gotham City from the crooks and supervillains intent on destroying the holidays.
 
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and based on characters from DC, Merry Little Batman features the voices of Yonas Kibreab, Luke Wilson, James Cromwell and David Hornsby, and is directed by Mike Roth (“Regular Show”) from a screenplay by Morgan Evans (“Teen Titans Go!”) and Jase Ricci (Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham). Roth also serves as executive producer, alongside Sam Register (“Looney Tunes” cartoons).

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Voice recordings and writing concluded prior to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, according to a Prime press release.

Holiday Comedy ‘Dashing Through the Snow’ Headed to Disney+ Nov. 17

The original family holiday comedy Dashing Through the Snow, starring Lil Rel Howery, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Teyonah Parris, will debut Nov. 17 exclusively on Disney+.

Dashing Through the Snow is about a social worker for the Atlanta police department and the Christmas Eve journey with his estranged daughter that helps him to remember the joy and magic of the yuletide season. 

Eddie Garrick (Bridges) is a good-hearted man who has turned his back on Christmas due to a traumatic childhood experience. At the request of his wife Allison Garrick (Parris), from whom he is separated, Eddie takes his 9-year-old daughter Charlotte (Madison Skye Validum) to work with him on Christmas Eve, where they meet a mysterious man in a red suit named Nick (Howery). Eddie, who is a social worker, thinks the man is delusional and needs professional help, but when he evokes the wrath of a local politician (Oscar Nuñez), he and his daughter are taken on a magical adventure that just might restore his faith in Christmas.

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Dashing Through the Snow also stars Mary Lynn Rajskub, Ravi V. Patel, Gina Brillon, Kevin Connolly, and Zulay Henao.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Avatar 2’ Box Office Blowout; James Cameron Quotes and Interviews; Charlie’s Feel-Good Christmas-Time Movie List

 

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover news around Avatar 2’s release. It had the fifth-largest domestic opening of the year, and made $435 million globally. It was a meaty opening weekend yet it still didn’t quite meet projections. Charles brings in a series of interviews director James Cameron has given over the years and breaks down the characteristics of this auteur director. It’s a spirited discussion around this director because the release of Avatar 2 has such a unique development history, not to mention the ongoing development of planned sequels in the franchise.

Charlie wraps up the episode with an exhaustive list of movies he watched over the weekend while he was knocked out sick in bed. It spans the gamut of thriller/criminal/mystery/revenge films, including multiple foreign films and some mainstream ones that flew under the radar during their releases. He facetiously calls it his “feel-good Christmas-time movie list” but beware that most of the movies he cites tend to get graphic. One movie however, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, gets an asterisk for actually taking place during Christmas. Listen to the episode for the full list.

Survey: Watching Holiday Movies Ranks Higher Than Decorating Tree as Holiday Tradition

Americans rank watching holiday movies (72%) over decorating the tree (66%) and baking cookies (55%) as one of their favorite holiday traditions, according to a new survey.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by free global streaming media platform Plex and OnePoll, more than half (52%) of respondents said they believe the holidays would feel “incomplete” without their favorite movies, and the same amount say watching holiday movies helps them bond with their family. 

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The survey also found that four in 10 Americans (39%) binge-watch movies during the holiday season,  more than any other time of year; 63% of respondents said the holidays are stressful, but the nostalgia of holiday movies and content is comforting, and makes them feel joyful (56%); 34% would download and/or subscribe to a new streaming service that has their favorite holiday movie; and 29% create a cozy ambiance during the holiday season by streaming virtual fireplace settings, such as the Yule Log.

Other findings include:

Top Three Holiday Movies

It’s a Wonderful Life (43%)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (42%)
Home Alone (42%)

Top Three Non-Traditional Holiday Movies

Die Hard (25%)
Frozen (23%)
The Sound of Music (21%)

Top Three Holiday Movie Characters

Kevin Mcallister — Home Alone (30%)
The Grinch (29%)
Clark Griswold  — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (26%) 

Top Holiday TV Specials + Episodes

Best holiday-themed TV special: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (60%)
Most popular holiday-themed TV episode: “Friends” episode “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” (19%)

Vudu Unveils Holiday Movie-Themed Gift Cards

Fandango’s transactional VOD service Vudu is introducing a series of digital and physical gift cards devoted to some of the greatest holiday movie classics, working with various studios on promoting the titles in the TVOD space. 

“Film fans on Vudu can find new releases and all of their favorite classics in one place, without having to worry about subscription fees and recurring charges,” says Fandango VP Home Entertainment Cameron Douglas. “Our new holiday movie-themed gift cards draw attention to specific film titles that are among our top sellers, and signal to all studios that Vudu is ready to partner with them on innovative marketing campaigns.”

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More than 20 holiday movies on Vudu are supported with individual gift cards, including Vudu’s top-selling holiday movie titles. Vudu’s top 10 best-selling holiday movies (from Thanksgiving 2022 to date) are:

  1. The Grinch
  2. Elf
  3. The Polar Express
  4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  6. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  7. A Christmas Story
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  9. The Holiday 
  10.  Love Actually 

 

Vudu is also offering unique gift cards for holiday titles such as Bad Santa, A Madea Christmas, Hallmark’s Eight Gifts of Hanukkah, and Seth Rogen’s The Night Before. The holiday movie-themed cards are available in both digital and physical formats, ranging from $15 to $100, and are good for all movies in Vudu’s library of more than 200,000 titles. Vudu gift card orders for $60 or more are now available for 10% off, while supplies last.