Crown Media Holdings's Hallmark Channel struggled to improve ad revenue for its fourth quarter of 2012, but first-quarter 2013 business -- including new
2013 calendar-year upfront deals -- have showed steady gains.
The company stated: "Upfront negotiations are nearly completed for both Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, reflecting the maintenance of strong relationships with a diverse group of high-quality, stable advertisers."
Bill Abbott, president/CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, said in an earnings call that total revenues for these deals are up 15% over the same period a year ago. Calendar-year upfront deals represent only 4% to 5% of the company's ad revenues.
The current 2013 scatter ad market for Hallmark Channel is showing big pricing gains -- 24% higher -- on the cost per thousand viewers (CPMs) over the upfront. Existing clients are paying increases in the single-digit percentage range.
During summer 2012, the major part of upfront deal-making for many broadcast and cable TV networks scored mid-single-digit percentage price hikes on CPMs versus 2011.
For the fourth quarter, Crown Media Holdings ad revenue growth was just 2% higher to $82.5 million -- and 8% higher to $271 million for year. Concerning the fourth quarter, Abbott says the TV ad market was slow, as the big political ad dollars didn't come to national TV networks.
Fourth-quarter subscribers' fees for the company moved up 7% to $19 million, and 9% for the full year to $78 million. In the fourth quarter, ad revenues for the newer Hallmark Movie Channel rose 23% to $11 million.
Total Crown Media Holdings revenue was up 3% for the fourth quarter to $102 million with full-year revenue growing 8% to nearly $350 million. Net income in the fourth quarter more than doubled to $70 million from almost $30 million.