TCA17: Crown Media to Launch Hallmark Drama Cable Network

Company to also debut subscription-based video streaming service in October

Crown Media Family Networks is planning to expand its Hallmark Channel brand on both the linear and digital platforms with the October launch of two new services.

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Crown on Oct. 1 will launch a new linear channel, Hallmark Drama, which will spotlight movies and series from the company’s library of original dramatic content as well as feature exclusive original programming, said network officials.

Two days later on Oct. 3 the company will launch a subscription video on demand streaming service dubbed Hallmark Movies Now. The service, which will retail at $5.99 a month or $59.95 a year, will feature between 800 and 1,000 hours of programming not available on Crown Media’s linear channels.

The Hallmark Drama channel will complement Crown’s two existing linear channels, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.

“Crown Media represents a truly unique success story in the cable landscape as we continue to see an overwhelming demand for Hallmark-branded family entertainment – not just among viewers, but among advertisers and distributors, as well,” said Bill Abbott, President & CEO, Crown Media Family Networks in a statement. “The launch of Hallmark Drama, a significant milestone in our business’ evolution, allows us to further deliver on that demand and reflects our ongoing commitment to expanding our footprint within the ad-supported linear ecosystem.” 

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The addition of Hallmark Drama comes as both Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries posted ratings increases in second quarter 2017. Hallmark increased its audience by 7% during the period while Hallmark Movies and Mysteries generated a 22% increase in the quarter, according to Nielsen. 

Hallmark Movies Now will be available on iOS, Android, Roku and Amazon Fire, among other devices, according to the network. 

In addition, Crown Media’s MVPD partners will have the opportunity to offer Hallmark Movies Now as a supplementary subscription service to their customers.

“As we continue to see demand for our unique brand of family-friendly programming grow on our linear channels, the launch of Hallmark Movies Now is the natural next step in our distribution strategy,” said Erin McIlvain, Executive Vice President, Distribution & Content Strategy in a statement. “Over the last 15 years we have collected a considerable library of content and this new service will allow subscribers to stream and enjoy a differentiated lineup of programming – whenever they want and wherever they are.”