Crown Media: Ad Revs Up 15% In 2Q

Henry Schleiff of Crown MediaCrown Media Holdings, owner of Hallmark Channel, trimmed its net losses to $5.9 million in its second quarter from $43.6 million in the same period a year ago, thanks to improved advertising revenue and subscriber fees.

Net revenue in the period improved 28% to $71.5 million from $55.9 million, with a 15% increase in advertising revenues to $56.5 million and a 124% increase in subscriber fee revenues to $14.6 million. Over the first six months of the year, advertising revenues climbed 19% and subscriber fees doubled to 103%, for a total of $142.1 million. At the same time, Hallmark trimmed programming costs down 7% to $35.6 million, due primarily to the expiration of the programming agreement with the National Interfaith Cable Coalition. VISN Management Corp., a for-profit subsidiary of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, is a part owner of Crown Media Holdings.

Future advertising revenues are expected to climb in late 2008 and for the first half of 2009, according to Crown Media.

The company notes in the recently concluded upfront advertising market--where advertisers typically buy from September through August--that it sold 50% of its inventory at the cost-per-thousand viewers (CPM) price increases of 7% versus the prior year. New advertising clients, including Microsoft, Met Life, IHOP, IKEA, H&R Block and Nivea, accounted for $10 million in business.

The company says Hallmark had its highest-rated household ratings in the second quarter in prime time and total day categories. Preliminary numbers indicate that Hallmark will be ranked 7th in prime time among all advertising-supported cable networks in the second quarter.

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