So, the Hallmark streaming service is now a thing. It’s called Hallmark Movies Now and it’s something I call a “niche streaming service.” That’s a term I came up with to describe steaming channels that offer specialized content viewers can’t get anywhere else. These services usually act as add-on service to people’s main streaming package, and they usually go for $10 or less per month. Hallmark Movies Now fits that profile to a T. It sounds perfect for anyone who enjoys the greeting card company’s unique programming, but does anyone really need this service?
I say absolutely not. There’s someone here at Solid Signal who disagrees with me. No, it’s not Stuart Sweet. He already learned his lesson about niche streaming services. (More about that later.) The coworker who loves Hallmark movies is Nicole. You might remember her from the blog post about how she got new phones and AT&T wireless service for herself and her Aunt Barb. Well, Nicole is back, and this time she’s the “barb,” aka the sharp, pointed piece of metal that’s stuck in my side. Nicole loves Hallmark movies and thinks the streaming service is a great idea. I’m sure you see where this is going.
Without any further ado, here’s the “great Hallmark debate” between Nicole and me:
Me: I just don’t see the point of yet another niche streaming service. All they do is add money to your monthly entertainment bill. Look what happened when Stuart signed up for CBS All Access. He got it because it’s the ONLY place he can watch Star Trek: Discovery, and he ended up feeling cheated. I think Hallmark fans who shell out the $5.99 a month for this will be just as disappointed. Can you afford to throw away $59.99 a year?
Nicole: “I actually do agree with you…to a point. While it is ‘yet another niche streaming service,’ this one is basically a library of new and old shows, holiday movies, Hallmark mysteries, etc. When I had Sling, I paid $5 extra a month to get access to half of what I see available for Hallmark Movies Now. Is it a need? No. However, being the Hallmark fan that I am, it is something that I would consider, and would probably actually get since Hallmark shows and movies are not available on any other streaming service, and I do not have cable.”
Me: When people like something, they think they want to have it all the time. Take pizza for example. Most people enjoy eating it, but how many want it for EVERY meal? My guess is not many. Do you really think you’ll watch THAT much Hallmark programming? Also, how much is enough for you to feel you’re getting your money’s worth? My prediction is that you’ll binge watch in the first couple months then get burned out. Then you’ll be second guessing this investment until you eventually dump it. Prove me wrong.
Nicole: “Okay… okay… okay, so, a burn out might happen. I don’t disagree with you there. But I am the type of person to watch a show over and over again or have it on as background. Therefore, I would use it. The burn out happened with Netflix and Hulu as well, yet I still have them and still watch them. Adding Hallmark to the rotation would work for me. Might not work for everyone, but I think it will for me. I would prefer that it be an additional $3/month to add it to Netflix or something like that, so I would not have to use another separate app. But, it is what it is.”
Me: Let’s talk about the quality of Hallmark movies. The network is just another Lifetime, only twice as sappy. The folks at Hallmark like to call this “heartfelt.” I call it predictably boring melodramas that feature B-list actors phoning in wooden dialogue. I simply can’t believe that anyone would want a channel filled with that, let alone want to actually pay for it. I just don’t see it.”
Nicole: “TWICE AS SAPPY? Oh come on! They are sweet, wholesome, lovable shows and films. When Calls the Heart is not a wooden dialogue show, it is an emotional journey of Elizabeth! When it comes to B-list actors I cannot disagree; however, there is quite a bit of talent from those actors, Mr. Buckler! Though most films have a similar storyline or plot, I still enjoy and get hooked into the shows and films. As do quite a few people.
“There are shirts that say, ‘This is my Hallmark Christmas Movie Watching Shirt,’ and other merchandise like that. Hallmark is a well-loved channel that I think is taking a step to bring it to many more people since cable is becoming less and less popular of an option. Whether it works as they want to, I am not sure. As I stated they would probably benefit more from being an add on to Netflix or Hulu, but that is not my decision to make.”
Me: Uh oh! I have some bad news. According to my research, not all of Hallmark’s movies are currently available on this service. Sure, the company says it “frequently” updates its library with new titles “frequently, so that should be good enough, right? I guess it all depends on how you define “frequently.” I could see you signing up for this thing then finding out that one or more of your favorite Hallmark movies aren’t available yet. Then what will you do?
Nicole: “Their starting lineup seems good. They have a good foundation and only time will tell what their ‘frequently’ is. Netflix’s frequently is like once a month while Hulu is day after a show airs. As long as Hallmark falls somewhere in between, I think frequently is good enough. I mean, it will take a while to watch all that is already provided!”
Me: Well, you make some good points, Nicole. And I agree with you that it would be ideal if the cost of this streaming service was lower. It isn’t, though, and that’s the reality that you and everyone else who gets Hallmark Movies Now. In the end, I think the greeting card company is going to end up with a lot of what’s called “streaming churn.” That’s an industry term that’s used to describe people who cancel their services. I think this will happen because of all the points I mentioned above. Only time will tell, though.
Nicole: “Well, as usual, I think I’m right and that people will greatly enjoy this service. If they keep adding to it and keeping the content fresh, I don’t think that there would be much if any ‘streaming churn.’ Granted, all services have to face that issue. I stand firm in my view of loving the content that this ‘greeting card company’ turns out is something that many enjoy. (Yes, their content is generally geared for a more female audience, and the love stories are sweet, and the mysteries are entertaining!) You should watch some Hallmark, bud!”
Me: You always have to have the last word, don’t you. (You don’t have to answer.)
Nicole: *Side eye
Stuart: Folks, this is what happens when you let two cub reporters duke it out. Here’s the final word: you’re both out of line.
Buckler, you’re an idiot but you’re not wrong here. Hallmark Movie Channel isn’t really interesting to a lot of people. If you like it, fine, it’s a reasonable expense. After all, people spend $200 a month on coffee which most offices give you for free. So what do I know.
Nicole, you’re a smart cookie. But I gotta say I don’t find this channel as entertaining as you do. Fact is, I probably don’t find it as entertaining as watching paint dry. But as I said, if it lights you up, what difference is that of mine.
Bottom line: This article stinks. I’m docking you both 50% of what I normally pay you per story. Shape up!