Learn how the Hallmark Channel’s website redesign allowed the beloved creator of holiday cheer to create a more holistic viewer experience.
Hallmark Channel by the numbers
A beloved household brand, the Hallmark Channel creates and delivers content that sparks joy during the holiday season. Like the happiness its movies and television shows bring to viewers, packaged into an immersive holiday experience full of warmth and positivity, the brand wanted to replicate that same feeling for its digital audience and have it extend throughout the year, not just for seasonal celebrations.
That meant they needed a content management system that could support a sitewide redesign, which is why they turned to Brightspot.
The Hallmark Channel challenge
At the core, we are a website that supports the network, so the site needs to uphold the heart of the content that's in the movies and shows, which are what really makes us stand out to our audience. We strive to be the heart of TV, so we want that heart to be right there on the page, too.
Hallmark’s digital team wanted to better elevate the down-home, home-and-hearth, feel-good magic associated with their brand for website visitors.
The redesign needed to focus on high-quality unit photography, widescreen and portrait “movie poster” and logo selection elements, and seasonal font treatments and color schemes. Even elements as small as background images visible behind the module rows of content needed to be accounted for, as those had to follow the same look-and-feel on the site that viewers see on their television screens.
They also wanted to encourage visitors on the site to return to the network, so it felt like one cohesive experience with regular engagement on both their site and channel.
The Brightspot solution for the Hallmark Channel
Brightspot worked closely with Hallmark to design and build an engrossing web experience to engage their website visitors with holiday and other related content. In 2017, Brightspot launched three redesigned sites for Crown Media—Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama (which has since been rolled into HallmarkChannel.com).
The newly designed sites leveraged Brightspot’s multisite CMS capabilities to create a common infrastructure that greatly increased editorial productivity for the digital and editorial teams. Through this, the team saw welcome surges in site traffic, up 38%, and unique visitors, up 33%.
With Brightspot, we have promotional modules that we can easily set up so our viewers get to see something new and engaging as they move down the page. From a metric perspective, we want users to have a high level of engagement—page depth, time spent, video consumption, entering sweepstakes—so we want to hook them all the way to the end of a page.
An ongoing responsibility for the digital team is to bridge the content from the network onto the site. For example, Hallmark's daily two-hour talk show includes recipes, DIY project tips, guest interviews and other segments that require complementary digital programming. That way, if a viewer is watching the show and sees a recipe they want to try, they can immediately go to the site to view it. The same goes for Hallmark movies—the website is the first stop for viewers to find relevant content , such as actors' bios, movie descriptions, and behind-the-scenes clips. The Brightspot platform makes this entire workflow seamless.
In 2020, during the beginning of the pandemic, Hallmark’s audience asked for Christmas content that they don't usually air during the spring or summer. Because that's what the audience was needing and asking for during those challenging days of lockdown, Hallmark completely revamped its schedule, and holiday movies were available on air quickly. That same positive energy then needed to be delivered on the website, which was made easy through the CMS the team had in place.
Brightspot offers flexibility to adapt as customer needs and business priorities change, exactly as Hallmark’s has over the years.