Crown renews agreement with Comcast

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Crown Media Holdings Inc., owner and operator of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, said Thursday that it has renewed its distribution agreement with Comcast Corp. for a multiyear term.

Under the new deal, Comcast systems will have the right to distribute Hallmark Channel and both the standard- and high-definition versions of Hallmark Movie Channel, which plans to launch an HD version in March.

"Clearly, this agreement reflects both Comcast's and Hallmark Channel's emphasis on quality, fair price and service to our respective subscribers and viewers," Crown Media president and CEO Henry Schleiff said. "On a personal note, I would add that our ability to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement should indicate that regardless of size or other factors, parties who operate in good faith can reach fair agreements without outside help or intervention."

He added that he anticipates two other impending other carriage deals -- with Time Warner Cable and DirecTV -- closing on schedule at year's end.

Schleiff also said there are no immediate plans to put the network up for sale again.

"We are not for sale, but obviously as a public company we'll continue to entertain indications of interest," he said. "But in the interim, we will operate in the best interests of our shareholders to maximize value, and certainly the most current deal with Comcast reflects that ongoing effort."

Added Madison Bond, Comcast's executive vp content acquisition: "Hallmark Channel is a highly rated network with original movies and classic series all delivered at a fair and reasonable price. Our goal is to serve the best interests of our subscribers, and there are few networks that offer them better programming or value than Hallmark Channel."
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