Crown Media posts narrower Q4 loss

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Crown Media Holdings Inc., owner of the Hallmark Channel cable network, said Thursday it posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss as costs fell.

Crown reported a loss of $30 million, or 29 cents per share, versus a year-ago loss of $59.8 million, or 57 cents per share.

Revenue fell 4% to $58.4 million from $60.5 million in the year-ago period, hurt by a decline in license fees from its library of films. Ad revenue rose 31% to $52 million and subscriber fee revenue added 16%.

Hallmark Channel reached 74.6 million subscribers as of December. Separately Thursday, the company agreed to a distribution pact with EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish network, putting it in an additional 4 million homes.

Costs of services fell to $53.1 million from $76.9 million a year ago.

For the year, the company's loss widened to $389 million, or $3.71 per share, from a loss of $232.8 million, or $2.22 per share, in 2005. Revenue edged 2% higher to $201.2 million.

Crown shares added 13 cents, or 3%, to $4.49 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have ranged from $2.94 to $8.06 in the past year.
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