Crown to develop Hallmark, Movie channels

Network strategy part of Crown's latest financial report

NEW YORK -- Crown Media Holdings is focused on developing Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel into two distinct and viable networks, president and CEO Bill Abbott said Wednesday.

"A key to maximizing the value of our channels and our future financial success is our ability to position our networks as two distinct yet complementary channels, each appealing uniquely to our distributors, our advertisers and our audience," he said.

Abbott cited a recent far-reach partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as providing "the ideal platform to introduce our new daytime schedule of lifestyle programming" on Hallmark Channel. "We will then be able to refine our lineup at Hallmark Movie Channel to distinguish it with family movies 24/7."

The movie network recently became a rated channel in a move to further develop its business. Its subscribers increased by 18% in the first quarter to 34.2 million.

Abbott's comments on his networks strategy were part of Crown's latest financial report.

The company posted a narrowed first-quarter loss as lower programming and marketing expenses and other factors helped offset a 4% revenue decline.

The network operator reported a loss of $2.3 million, compared with $7.5 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue of $68.4 million fell 4% as subscriber fees increased 11%, but advertising revenue decreased 7% due to lower ratings.
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