Crown Media Ad Revs Jump 17% In Q4

Crown Media Holdings made big advertising gains in its fourth quarter against lower earnings.

Advertising revenue for its Hallmark and Hallmark Movie Channel increased 17% to $97.3 million, with overall revenue 16% higher to $118.4 million. Net income dropped by more than half to $26.7 million, from $70 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The fourth quarter of 2012 had a tax benefit of $44.8 million.

Subscriber fee revenue grew 8% to $20.5 million from $19.1 million in the fourth quarter. Programming costs were flat versus the same time period a year ago. Marketing expenses dropped $2.7 million during the fourth quarter of 2013 versus the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Crown Media experienced strong ratings growth and operating results in the fourth quarter and full-year 2013, driven by our strategy to expand and enhance our original programming slates for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, in a statement.

Hallmark Channel had 22% fourth-quarter growth in total viewer prime time to 1.54 million; with the Hallmark Movie Channel rising 26% to 285,000. For the entire 2013 year, Hallmark Channel had 14% growth in total prime-time viewership to 866,000, with Hallmark Movie Channel up 31% to 259,000.

“We see a particularly strong scatter market for the cable and video industry,” says Abbott, in a call with analysts, adding his expectation that “the upfront would be pretty solid.”

Crown Media Holdings' mid-day stock price was up 8% to $3.42. Hallmark Cards owns 90.3% of Crown Media Holdings. Last year, Hallmark Cards said it was mulling its investment, which might include buying up more of the company -- or taking it private.  

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