Hallmark Networks Score 7% Hike In Ad Revs

Crown Media Holdings' Hallmark networks made moderate advertising gains in the first quarter of 2013.

Ad revenue grew 7% to $64.2 million -- much of this from gains at its Hallmark Movie Channel, which witnessed a 22% hike in advertising revenue. The company says there was an increase in the key women 25-54 demographic on the mothership Hallmark Channel, which helped lift ad revenues.

Overall, ad revenue gains at Crown Media were up 2% to $65.2 million for the period. Subscriber fees inched up by the same amount -- 2% -- to $20.1 million.

Current "scatter" advertising volume is up 23% for Hallmark Channel and 115% for Hallmark Movie Channel compared to a year ago. Both Hallmark networks witnessed major 24% to 26% cost-per-thousand price (CPMs) gains over upfront set in the summer of 2012. Still, Hallmark says the CPMs are down slightly from first-quarter 2012.

Hallmark registered lower programming costs in the period down 7%, due to ending various programming deals, including the “The Martha Stewart Show” agreement. The company says programming costs will likely increase in the future.

Bill Abbott, president/chief executive officer of Crown Media Family Networks, stated: “We have redoubled our commitment to establishing Hallmark Channel as an exciting new prime-time destination for original scripted series, while substantially expanding Hallmark Movie Channel’s programming slate -- including the addition of that network’s first original Christmas movie -- to parallel its distribution and ratings growth."

Crown Media Holdings revenue was up 2% to $85.5 million, with net income 18% higher to $14.5 million.

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