Netflix and Cheer? Streaming Video Giant Leverages Holiday Nostalgia

by Glenn Hower | Dec. 23, 2016

The holidays are here, and the winter season has typically served as premium real estate for blockbuster films (secondary only to the summer) and holiday television favorites. Netflix, however, is positioning itself as a stay-in alternative to the box office crowds despite a slate of winter tentpole films. At the box office, films like Harry Potter franchise continuation Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Warner Bros.), Doctor Strange (Disney/Marvel Studios), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Disney/Lucasfilm), and animated films Moana (Disney) and Sing (Universal/Illumination Entertainment) vie for big numbers before years end. Netflix, however, is ringing in the holiday season with a mix of over 50 originals and library content leveraging ‘80s, ‘90s, and early 2000s nostalgia.

With major networks holding the rights to key holiday specials like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (CBS), It’s a Wonderful Life (NBCUniversal), and Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Turner), Netflix is at a serious lack of classic holiday programming. Netflix’s holiday library even pales in comparison to popular movies on Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” lineup. Nonetheless, the streaming giant scheduled a slate of ‘80s and ‘90s library films like Beverly Hills Cop, Harry and the Hendersons, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and D2: The Mighty Ducks, hoping to capture 20 to 30-something audiences that grew up with these sometimes hard-to-find films.

Between November and December, Netflix will premiere around 50 originals or exclusive releases comprising serials, documentaries, children’s programming, and specials. Beginning with Black Friday, Netflix debuted its relaunch of the early 2000s WB drama Gilmore Girls titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. December 9 saw the debut of Fuller House season 2, the continuation of the 1980s-1990s sitcom Full House. In early January, Netflix will debut season 1 of One Day at a Time, an original series based on the 1970s-1980s television sitcom of the same time. With cost-conscious Millennials looking for stay-in options during the holiday season, Netflix is well underway executing its strategy of nostalgia. After all, when faced with the magic of the holiday season, what could be more Millennial than clinging to the innocence of childhood through television?

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