Crown Has Mixed Q1

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Crown Media, parent of the Hallmark Channel, reported mixed first quarter results, with cash flow up a strong 31% to $24.4 million despite a 4% decline in revenue.
On a conference call with analyst, Crown CEO Bill Abbot blamed the revenue decline on lower ratings at the Hallmark Channel, slightly offset by gains at its movie network Hallmark Movie Channel. And while Abbott said that the first quarter results reflect the "challenges" facing the Hallmark Channel - ratings were down about 10% in the quarter - he was optimistic about the potential the company's recent agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will bring.
The domestic diva is expected to anchor Hallmark's daytime lineup and starting March 29 took over a 7-hour block on the channel. While the agreement came too late to affect first quarter results - the quarter ended March 31 - Abbott was optimistic the relationship will lead to new advertisers and clients.
Crown also said it is moving forward in a planned recapitalization plan with largest shareholder Hallmark Cards. Abbott said that deal should be completed in the second or third quarter.

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