UP Entertainment's UP Faith & Family, the streaming service featuring the best in faith affirming and family-friendly entertainment, is the first U.S. streamer to debut the 14th season of the long-running Canadian family drama Heartland, with new episodes premiering weekly. This current season joins the previous 13; all are currently available for subscribers to stream and catch up on. "Heartland is a fan phenomenon," said Angela Cannon, Vice President and Channel Manager of UP Faith & Family. "It's been one of our flagship shows for several years now. It's a great fit for our service because at the core, it's all about family.
"It's about the ups and the downs of being a family," she continued. "Like the bond between Amy (Amber Marshall) with her husband Ty (Graham Wardle) and how they formed a relationship as teenagers, married and eventually had a child of their own. Or the sisterly relationship between Amy and Lou (Michelle Morgan). Then there's the mother-daughter relationship with Lou, Georgie (Alisha Newton), and Katie (Ziya Matheson). All these relationship types and more are relatable to everyone. UP Faith & Family is our streaming destination that showcases family and faith-affirming entertainment, which makes it a perfect fit."
Set amidst the rolling foothills of the Rockies (in the fictional town of Hudson, Alberta), Heartland has a special place in Cannon's heart, given the fact she got to experience the show's majestic surroundings in person. "I had the opportunity to go up there while we were producing some bonus content," she explained. "To be able to see what they're working with every day ... There is no way they can call that work! It's just breathtaking in Alberta, Canada. Having been there, I'm able to speak to the camaraderie between the cast and crew who have worked together all these years, producing a great show in a beautiful location.
"The storytelling is incredible," she added. "It follows this family that lives on a horse ranch, and through an unfortunate tragedy where Amy Fleming (Amber Marshall) loses her mother, she learns to aid injured horses and work through her personal loss by bonding together with her family. I believe audiences gravitate towards this family because their challenges and life moments are the same for each of us. They are incredibly relatable and strong. Subscribers write to us all the time and say, 'I wish I had a Grandpa Jack or I wish I could talk to my sister like that.' I think that's what makes this show so special."
One thing that makes the UP Faith & Family viewing experience of Heartland unique to subscribers is that aforementioned bonus content, created especially by the network. "We have been producing curated behind-the-scenes content for a couple of years," Cannon explained. "We have a great relationship with the producers of Heartland, so it's not just another show on the service. It really is a partnership and what we are showcasing is exclusive to us. It takes subscribers into the magical world of Heartland that they've never seen before.
"You get to know the cast and crew and learn how they have evolved over the years," she added. "We have secrets and little-known facts that you can't find anywhere else. We went behind the scenes with the women of Heartland and highlighted their strengths throughout the series. Principal cast members spoke about their love of the show and how their characters have evolved over the years. We interviewed the writers about their amazing storylines. We toured the sets like the ranch house, the loft, the veterinarian clinic and the barn. Amber Marshall did a quarantine special for us and graciously took subscribers through a day in the life of being quarantined on her ranch. We interviewed the show's makeup artist, stunt coordinator, horse wrangler and other key crew members. Everything you want to know about Heartland, you'll find in exclusive footage on UP Faith & Family."
UP Entertainment, which in addition to the UP Faith & Family streaming service includes linear channels UPtv and Aspiretv, has experienced growth of late, with UPtv ranking the No. 3 fastest-growing network among W25-54 in 1Q21.Thanks to cross-promotion on its linear services, the trickle effect for UP Faith & Family and Heartland has been fantastic. "The week we launched Heartland, we saw a gain of roughly 172% of new free trials on the service," Cannon shared. "We also saw our views increase by 35% and the hours watched was up by 29%. Our engagement with active users hit an all-time high last week and Heartland is the heartbeat of that success, which is all very exciting.
"May was an important month for us," she added in closing. "We celebrated our mothers for Mother's Day. We have a Summer of Adventure [programming event] with some cool movies coming to the service. Shadow of the Bear is an outdoorsy wilderness movie that families are going to love watching together along with A Fish Tale and Benji. On Memorial Day we had stories celebrating America with the premiere of Celebration Cupcake, a story about a returning soldier figuring out what to do with his life who starts a cupcake business with his wife. We also had a trilogy called Saints and Soldiers, which is a faith-oriented series. All great stuff for May!"
Heartland is currently available to stream on UP Faith & Family.
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