These Networks Are Going All In on Halloween and Other Fall Programming

Vizio Fall Fest
(Image credit: Vizio)

Programmers, streamers and even smart TV brands are leaning into the fall season in a big way. From myriad made-for-TV movies and Vizio's launch of its free-to-view "Fall Fest," to Peacock's "Halloween Horror" and Hulu's "Huluween" in-app destinations, it seems like this year there's more fall-related stuff popping up on screens than ever.

When it comes to live, linear TV, Hallmark Channel has a lock on love during the season's festivities. Its "Fall into Love" programming block kicked off August 6 with 11 new movie premieres over the following months, nearly double its autumn offering last year (six) and more than triple its 2019 premieres during the same period.

Looking at viewership data from Vizio's Inscape, 22 of Hallmark's 50 most-watched shows and movies are fall-themed, led by Dating the Delaneys, its third premiere of "Fall into Love," which captured 1.50% of all live, linear minutes watched on the network from August 1 through October 20. And if you remove syndicated reruns, Delaneys was the No. 1 program by watch-time for the channel this fall. That's up a notch from last year's most-watched fall title, Roadhouse Romance, which captured 1.48% of minutes watched during the same period.

On the advertising side of things, estimated TV ad spend on Hallmark Channel is up nearly 8% year-over-year since August 1, per, and most-seen advertisers include Nutrisystem (1.44% impressions SOV), GOLO (1.21%) and Instacart (1.14%). While Nutrisystem and GOLO did advertise on Hallmark last fall, they've dramatically upped airings from a couple hundred each in 2021 to over 1,000 this year. Instacart, Knix, Indeed and Choice Hotels are four brands that did not advertise on Hallmark during fall 2021 but did run ads this year.

But of course it can't all be about harvest romances -- it is spooky season, after all. Inscape examined the horror genre across live, linear TV to reveal the most-watched horror movies so far this season: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Jaws, House of Wax and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.

At the network level, AMC is dominating the scares, capturing over 54% of all horror minutes watched since September 1, up from 41% during the same period in 2021. Syfy takes second, with 10.5% of watch-time for horror content.

Diving deeper into AMC, airings of the original Halloween have captured 2.83% of all minutes watched on the network since September 1, second only to The Walking Dead.

Subway (1.68%), Progressive (1.61%) and Burger King (1.32%) are the top three brands by TV ad impressions SOV this fall on AMC, and each have invested more heavily this year than last, leading to notable share of voice increases compared to 2021. Looking at new advertisers this year, Instacart and Nutrafol were two of the most-seen that did not air ads in the same time period in 2021.

And finally, we can’t have Halloween without fresh baking competitions over on Food Network. The cooking destination has upped its fall fare: In 2021, five of its top 50 most-watched shows were Halloween- or autumn-themed. This year there are seven in the top 50, led by Halloween Baking Championship, which has snagged 10.87% of all live-linear minutes watched on the network September 1 through October 20, per Inscape -- up from 8.96% in the same period last year.

Halloween Wars, another seasonal competition, has received 7.77% of Food Network watch-time (up from 7% in 2021), and Halloween Cookie Challenge, the network’s latest themed offering, has 1.80% of minutes watched.

According to iSpot, top brands by TV ad impressions SOV on Food Network this fall include Kohl's (0.98%), Progressive (0.87%) and Target (0.87%). Of those three, Progressive ran about 100 more airings this year than last. New advertisers this year that didn't run ads last fall include Bank of America Credit Card, King's Hawaiian, Rubbermaid, Lavazza and Visible. ■