Crown Media Family Networks today debuted the new look and logo for Hallmark Movie Channel’s imminent re-brand to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. The brand repositioning, which will launch across digital and linear platforms on October 1, follows by two years the brand redesign for sister network, Hallmark Channel. The name change was announced in the spring.
Hallmark Movie Channel’s new name and logo design emphasize the network’s evolution, Crown Media said, as it plants its flag in the mystery genre. In addition, by dropping the word “channel” from its name, the network says it’s is better positioned for long-term growth in a rapidly changing landscape that includes traditional linear, as well as digital platforms. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Crown Media Family Networks’ SVP Barbara Fisher, who has overseen original programming for the company’s Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel since June 2007, will leave her post in a couple of weeks. For the past five years, Fisher shepherded the development and production of all original scripted programming for both networks –- movies, miniseries, specials — reporting to Michelle Vicary, EVP Programming. A rep for Crown Media confirmed Fisher’s exit, adding, “We have an incredible amount of respect for Barbara; she is multi-talented, and we hope to collaborate with her somehow down the road.” While the flagship Hallmark Channel was down slightly in the ratings year-to-year — finishing 2011 with 814,000 viewers in primetime, down 5% from 2010 following double-digit declines in 2010 and 2009 — its offshoot Hallmark Movie Channel has been g’rowing albeit from a small base. Last year, it averaged 197,000 viewers in primetime, up 45% from 2010. Additionally, Hallmark Channel had a strong finish to 2011, delivering its highest-rated weekend (11/26-27) and single day (11/27) in history. Fisher’s exit comes two weeks after Hallmark Channel’s upfront presentation where the network, which had built its brand on original movies, announced its foray into scripted original series with the green light to movies/backdoor pilots Cedar Cove and When Calls The Heart. Before joining Hallmark, Fisher consulted for National Geographic entertainment as a producer and served as EVP of entertainment at Lifetime … Read More »
UPDATE, 2:00 PM: The companies finally got their story straight. Turns out Dish won’t stream the Hallmark Movie Channel or any content from it as part of the deal making it part of Blockbuster @ Home. Although Dish promotes the product as an extra cost online and DVD rental service for subscribers, it also serves as a conventional premium tier for some channels that are just offered via satellite. Hallmark Movie Channel will appear on that line-up only.
PREVIOUS, 9:04 AM: The streaming deal with Hallmark Movie Channel was tucked in to multiple releases today pitching Dish’s new Heartland Package, a collection of family-friendly channels that the company’s satellite subscribers can receive for an additional $5 a month. The collection includes Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movie Channel, GMC TV, PixL, and RFD-TV. Later this week the company will add RURAL TV. Here’s the announcement about the agreement with Hallmark owner Crown Media:
Crown Media Family Networks and DISH Network L.L.C. today announced a multi-year renewal of their affiliation agreement. As part of the new agreement, DISH will feature Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel in its newly launched Heartland TV package. DISH will also add Hallmark Movie Channel to DISH’s “Blockbuster @Home” subscription movie package.
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The owner of The Hallmark Channel had a happy story of its own to tell in 3Q as ad sales improved, marketing expenses dropped — and it recorded a big gain from a deferred tax asset. With that $191.7M one-time tax jolt, Crown had net income of $203.3M, up from $5.9M this quarter last year, on revenues of $74M, up 18%. The company says that ad revenue was up 15% to $56M as it raised average per-viewer prices, while payments from pay TV distributors were up 29% to $18M. The Hallmark Movie Channel contributed $7.8M in ad sales, up 69.6%. Crown says it also benefited from improved ratings from shows in the Hallmark Channel’s daytime block, which includes The Martha Stewart Show, Martha Bakes, and Mad Hungry With Lucinda Scala Quinn. Crown didn’t spend as much on marketing this past quarter as it did a year ago when it launched The Martha Stewart Show. “We have experienced solid growth for our overall advertising sales revenues and are optimistic that the trend will continue,” says CEO Bill Abbott.
The impasse in the negotiations between AT&T U-Verse and Crown Media, the parent company of the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movie Channel, over a new carriage agreement resulted in the two channels gong dark for 2.3 million subscribers at 12:01 AM EDT tonight when the two sides’ previous deal expired. Here are the statements by AT&T and Hallmark Channels:
AT&T: We are very disappointed that Hallmark has refused to provide AT&T and its customers with a fair deal one that is no worse than similarly-sized and smaller providers and refused to adhere to key obligations under our current deal. We offered to extend the current deal while talks continued, and Hallmark rejected that offer. We don’t want customers to lose their programming, but we believe strongly that our customers should not have to pay more than their fair share for Hallmark’s channels, which is exactly what Hallmark is demanding.
AT&T U-verse will replace the two Hallmark channels with a free preview of programming from Starz Kids & Family and Turner Classic Movies. According to Crown, negotiations hit a standstill as of Aug. 26.
Hallmark Channels is willing to re-start negotiations toward the distribution agreement as long as they are fair and in good faith. “I was stunned by the apparent disregard for the facts in AT&T’s recent statement regarding our negotiations,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Hallmark Channels. ”However, if they are really serious, my team and I are ready
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EXCLUSIVE: Former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Luke Perry and Jason Priestley have reunited for Goodnight For Justice, a Hallmark Movie Channel original movie starring and executive produced by Perry and to be directed by Priestley. The Western is based on an idea by Perry who I hear envisioned it as a series of 3 movies. Set in the American Old West, it centers on John Goodnight (Perry) a circuit judge on a quest to catch the outlaw who killed his family. Production is slated to begin on August 4 in Vancouver for a 2011 premiere. Priestley directs from a script by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky. Perry, repped by Fortitude and Himber Entertainment, John Morayniss and Ira Pincus executive produce. Entertainment One will handle worldwide distribution.