What you need to know in advertising today

Hallmark released the first of 33 original Christmas movies — most featuring a pair of recognisable TV stars meeting cute near the mistletoe — this weekend — before we’re even done with Halloween.

Hallmark, it seems, has never stopped saying Merry Christmas, and it’s how the network, owned by Crown Media, is defying every trend in the media business. It has milked the Christmas stories to consistently deliver strong live ratings (meaning people watch when the movies are broadcast, not later, say, over the internet), while its rivals grapple with cable cord-cutting and competition from streaming services.

For marketers, Hallmark has become a feel-good, brand-safe home for their ads, helping the network grow its advertising revenues at a time when others are facing declines.

To get a peek into the cable network’s playbook, click here.

In other news:

Facebook will require full transparency for political advertisers — and other businesses too. Facebook, Twitter and Google all have their congressional hearings about alleged Russian interference on their platforms during and after last year’s U.S. election this week.

Speaking of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg is back in China as Facebook eyes an opportunity to finally enter the country. While Facebook’s service has been banned in China since 2009, the social network recently tapped William Shuai from LinkedIn to lead relations with the Chinese government.

And on the other hand, Twitter outlined how it will be tougher on banning revenge porn. The company laid out the specific kinds of tweets featuring “intimate media” that it will take action on in an update to its website on Friday.

Amazon’s bookstores are generating almost no revenue. There are a few reasons why including the fact that there aren’t that many of them yet.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai joked that he would drop everything else on Monday to address the cheese placement in Google’s burger emoji. Apple has it on top, but Google has it on the bottom.

E-sports just got closer to being part of the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee recently said that e-sports gaming could be a sanctioned sport for the Games as it sees it as a promising way to grow viewership with younger audiences.

NBC News has terminated Mark Halperin’s contract. Halperin’s termination follows multiple accusations that he harassed and abused women while at ABC News.

A scientist trained AI to come up with Halloween costume ideas. The results are fascinating.

BuzzFeed wants to help entrepreneurs sell their stuff, Recode reports. The company’s new revenue experiment will involve creating content and ads for gadget makers and inventors, in return for a cut of their sales.

Wal-Mart is pitching its advertising business to ad buyers by promoting itself as a media platform, reports Digiday. Walmart’s pitch is that it controls transaction data from customers, which can help brands retarget consumers off Walmart.com, according to executives familiar with the matter.

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