In Focus: Hallmark Channel Unveils 35 Movies For 2009-'10

Henry Schleiff of Crown MediaHallmark Channel is big on branding, which is why it has just announced an upcoming slate of 35 original movies for the 2009-2010 season -- the most ambitious lineup in the network's history.

"Our programming shouts our brand," says Henry Schleiff, president and CEO, Crown Media, the channel's parent. He says the network's forte is "offering predictability in an unpredictable world."

To prove it, Hallmark will maintain its ongoing schedule -- debuting original movies on Saturday night at 9 p.m. and replaying them the following Friday. Consistency is considered key to sustaining Hallmark's loyal audience -- those who are receptive to its "greatest family movies of all time" pitch.

Current in-production movies include "Mrs. Miracle," "A Soldier's Love Story" and "Uncorked," with "Dexter" star Julie Benz.

To date, Hallmark's original movie ratings have averaged a 2.4 HH rating with 3.8 million total viewers. The key adult 25-54 and women 25-54 demos are up, at 26% and 30%, respectively.

That's good news for advertisers. Recent Nielsen Fusion Metrics found that Hallmark's cross-platform sponsorship opportunities reach 65% of all U.S. homes, which account for $280 billion in annual spending in the consumer packaged-goods category.

Hallmark also retains its position as the No. 2 net among prime-time households for C3 audience retention.

To extend its film goals, Hallmark Movie Channel has formed a new partnership with NYU. Under the branded banner "Film Positive," short student films -- vetted by a panel of judges -- will began airing in October. They will run in various time slots and will be between three and 20 minutes in length. All must target the entire family and include an inspirational theme that highlights the network's goal -- to celebrate the human spirit through movies.

Hallmark Channel is a basic cable network with 86 million subscribers.

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