It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Seasonal viewing on streaming services

With the holiday season right around the corner and the UK going into a second lockdown, VOD services can expect a spike in user traffic over the next few weeks. Analysis of historical viewing habits in the UK shows that Christmas themed films start trending around mid-November with classics like Home Alone, The Grinch and Love Actually showing the first signs of audiences entering the holiday spirit, mirroring user activity trends in the US. This year’s viewing is projected to be further amplified by users being trapped at home during the pandemic, with our Trending algorithms already picking up Christmas classics that audiences have begun engaging with.


Chart above shows the annual spike in the UK for searches of Christmas films starts early on in November. Source: Google Trends 2020


But when is the ideal time for OTTs to begin promoting seasonal content? Historical analyses over the last 5 years in the UK indicate traffic towards Christmas films starts building steadily from early November. Audience traffic is typically at its highest over the weekends when VOD users can afford to spend more time watching longer pieces of content and overall traffic peaks in the second week of December as schools and offices break for Christmas. Therefore, traditionally mid-November weekends would be the ideal time to start promoting Christmas films or start tuning recommendations to start showing more holiday content.


Chart above depicts increase in popularity of classic Christmas content from mid-November. Source: The Filter 2019


What does this mean for OTTs? It is the perfect opportunity to revamp the platform by adding Christmas specific rails to highlight holiday themed content from the catalogue. Tuning recommendation engines to regularly boost Christmas content on the platform that’s started showing an increase in views is another good tactic to enhance the quality and relevance of recommendations served in the “Most Popular” or “Trending” carousels. Introducing a “Because You Watched” carousel for users who’ve already started consuming holiday content would help showcase the range of Christmas items in the platform’s catalogue. And why not extend Xmas recommendations to other users who fall in the same demographic as users who’ve got a head start on the holiday spirit?

With Christmas a sombre occasion this year in lockdown, maybe pushing a few Christmas classics to rekindle holiday cheer is just the escape audiences need from OTTs. And remember, if you need some help to optimise your OTT platform this year, then there are plenty of elves at The Filter who are primed and ready to give you a helping hand. We’re the best in AI, personalised for your snow show business.