Crown Media Sees More Ad Gains Ahead

Crown Media, which on Thursday reported a whopping 21% increase in ad revenues for the fourth quarter, sees gains continuing into 2016.

On the company’s earnings call Friday morning, CEO Bill Abbot said that first quarter scatter prices were up 37% for both Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Scatter volume has been strong as well, he added.

“Scatter volume for the rest of the quarter is projected to increase over 25% due to an invigorating programming strategy that includes both Winterfest and Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” Abbott said.

RELATED: Subaru suits up for Hallmark's Kitten Bowl

Abbott said he expected the channels’ momentum to continue into the upfront.

“Due to the success of our event strategy in 2015 and the increases in ratings, we are in a position of strength heading into the 2015 scatter market and the 2016 upfront,” he said.

The company is prepared for its upfront pitches. “Account by account strategies have been established. Presentation materials have been designed and aggressive selling to target key advertisers has already begun,” he said.

In the fourth quarter,  Hallmark Channel’s ad revenue was up 19% and Hallmark Movie Channel ad revenue was up 31%. Scatter pricing in the fourth quarter for Hallmark Channel was up 39% on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis (CPM), and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries pricing was up 31%.

The strongest advertiser categories were retail, automotive and telecommunications, Abbott said.

Crown Media also had gains on the distribution front.

Hallmark Channel ended 2015 with more than 90 million subscribers, up 6% from 2014. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries was up nearly 7 million homes to 62 million.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.