Hallmark hopes seven will hit the spot in new programme initiative

Seven seems to be a number with Hallmark Entertainment Network in its efforts to have a more significant presence in India.

Towards the end of last year the channel introduced a new signature - "Celebrate Life" - which was one of several key components behind the rebranding of Hallmark that included new on-air graphics. At the time there was also the repackaging of core programming into seven new primetime branded blocks for "all members of the family to enjoy together."

The effort has not really succeeded for the channel, which was launched in June 1999 in India. Hallmark is now launching seven new programmes from next month which it hopes will impact favourably on its viewership.

The programmes will be targeting children, youth and daytime television viewers. The highlight of the new programming initiative is the Indian premiere of the popular children's series Sesame Street which will start showing from 1 May.

May is also Women's Month on Hallmark, with a week of specially-scheduled movies starting from May 7 that climaxes with the premiere of Jackie, Ethel and Joan: Women of Camelot on May 13 and 14 - the dramatic story of the women behind the legendary Kennedy political dynasty.

The new initiative follows an eight-month research study which covered six countries that the channel conducted. Hallmark claims a viewership of over 7.5 million in India and is aiming to reach a 12.5 million audience.

Hallmark Channel is owned and operated by Crown Media International, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown Media Holdings, Inc. cases.

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