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Programming Costs Nip At Crown Media Profit

Crown Media, which runs the Hallmark Channels, reported slightly lower earnings as higher programming costs offset increased revenue.

Net income was $10 million, or 3 cents a share, in the third quarter, compared to $11.5 million, or 3 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 10% to $77.1 million. Advertising revenue rose 10% to $63.5 million as viewing of Hallmark Movie Channel increased. Subscriber fee revenue increased 6% to $20.5 million.

Programming costs increased 14% and marketing expenses rose to $3.6 million.

During its earnings conference call with analysts, Crown Media execs provided no further information about what will happen to the company when an agreement to not buy more stock with Hallmark Cards expires at the end of the year. Hallmark Cards owns about 90% of Crown Media.

"Crown Media marked an important milestone in the third quarter as Hallmark Channel launched its first original scripted series, Cedar Cove, to great success. The series maintained strong ratings over the course of its 13-week season and demonstrated that our viewers have an appetite for episodic programming," Bill Abbott (pictured), president and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks, said in a statement.. "In addition, Hallmark Movie Channel has continued its remarkable growth, with double-digit increases in audience delivery. Boosted by this increase, we experienced a solid increase of 10% in advertising revenue for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Going into fourth quarter with amplified holiday programming offerings, we are optimistic and expect to close out a successful 2013."