Vizio turns up holiday content destination on smart TV home screens

Vizio is turning up its annual holiday hub, dubbed "Winter Watchland," on millions of smart TV home screens.

The holiday content destination features a Seasons Greetings carousel with a collection of movies, shows, on-demand content and holiday music. Vizio’s also using the hub to drive viewers to its free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service WatchFree+, with seasonal exclusives and seasonal premieres.

New content includes a trio of Christmas programs from Brain Power Studio, including “Christmas Lucky Charm,” and others, as well as “A Unicorn for Christmas” from MarVista Entertainment and “The Christmas Spirit” from Maverick Entertainment Group.

Vizio’s WatchFree+ also offers a 24/7 linear Holiday Movies Channel, an on-demand holiday hub of over 50 free movies, along with the Vizio Fireplace Channel.

“Fans will discover both new and old holiday-themed programming with this curated collection that is sure to keep viewers in the holiday spirit well into the New Year,” said Christina Ruiz, senior director of Product Marketing & Engagement. “We are pleased to bring back ‘Winter Watchland’ to living rooms across the country by serving up an expansive line-up of seasonal content that audiences love.”

With the year wrapping up, holiday content resonates with viewers, as a recent survey from Whip Media showed – with roughly 3,200 of the over 4,500 U.S. respondents identifying as “TV holiday movie consumers.” And viewers with an appetite for seasonal programming make a point to watch it, with more than half (54%) of consumers in Whip’s survey saying they’ll prioritize watching holiday content to some degree this season.

And Vizio’s dedicated homepage hub could be useful to alert viewers to holiday shows as many in the Whip survey said they find their holiday content through ads or trailers (52%) or recommendations from a streaming service or device (51%).

Other streamers are bringing holiday content to their platforms, including Netflix with titles such as “Falling for Christmas,” “The Clause Family 2” and animated movie “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” joining the platform in December.

Hallmark – the most popular linear destination for holiday content, per Whip Media – recently inked new deals with streaming services which will see content land on NBCUniversal’s Peacock as well as Hulu’s live TV offering.

As for Vizio, the smart TV maker just updated the user experience for its WatchFree+ FAST service including a new entertainment programming guide with faster and easier navigation alongside more personalized features.

One of the leading players in the U.S. smart TV device ecosystem, Vizio saw hardware sales dip in the most recent quarter as it shipped fewer smart TVs in the three-month period. However, its Platform Plus business, which includes the SmartCast platform and WatchFree+, saw revenue jump 48% year over year alongside increased usage to a quarterly record of $128 million – accounting for nearly 30% of Vizio revenue. Advertising is key to Vizio’s platform business and the company added nearly 160 new advertising clients for Platform Plus in Q3.

"We believe that CTV [connected TV] advertising continues to grow faster than the overall ad market, and our advertising business continues to outpace the growth within CTV," said Vizio CFO Adam Townsend during third quarter earnings last month.