Crown Sees 17% Q3 Revenue Gain

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Crown Media Holdings, parent company of Hallmark Channel, Thursday reported third-quarter revenue of $64.5 million, a 17% increase from $55.3 million in the year-ago period. Crown also narrowed its net loss to $17.9 million in the quarter, down from a $37.9 million loss a year ago.

Subscriber-fee revenue jumped 93% to $14.2 million, from $7.4 million in the prior year's quarter, as a result of higher net-effective rates on average, primarily due to an increase in paying subscribers as a result of previously amended distribution agreements.

Ad revenue increased 4% to $50 million during the quarter, from $47.8 million a year ago, owing in large part to higher ad rates, increased advertising time and growth in advertising on Hallmark Movie Channel.

Adjusted EBITDA was $8.7 million for the third quarter, compared to an adjusted EBITDA loss of $6.5 million for the same period last year.

Crown Media’s third-quarter conference call with analysts is slated for Thursday afternoon.

"Our strong operating results in the year-to-date underscore the appeal of our programming and the increasing appreciation by our distributors and advertisers of the value of our brand and audience," Crown Media president and CEO Henry Schleiff said in astatement. "We are looking forward to extending this success in the fourth quarter, our most exciting time of the year when our themed holiday programming attracts an increasingly large audience that has come to equate Hallmark Channel with the wholesome goodness of the holidays.

In the third quarter, Hallmark Channel maintained its position as a Top 10-rated cable channel, ranking ninth in primetime and 10th in total day.

"While we expect that we will be impacted by the financial difficulties facing our economy, we believe that our channels have an inherent resiliency to withstand these challenges,” Schleiff said. “As many Americans return to the fundamental values of home and family, our channels offer the kind of uplifting and positive programming they will be comforted by. Our advertisers are primarily in sectors in which consumers may continue to spend in an economic downturn, such as packaged goods and pharmaceuticals.”

Hallmark Movie Channel, which launched in April with 7 million subscribers, has seen its distribution expand. With additional rollouts on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision  Systems and Verizon, Hallmark Movie Channel is now in more than 12 million homes, representing a 50% increase in just five months.

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