Hallmark Channel US claims most successful launch in cable history for first year

MUMBAI: It may be on the fringes in India, but the Hallmark Channel is growing leaps and bounds in the US. The channel claims that in its first 12 months on air it is America's fastest growing cable network.

An official release informs that since launching last year in August, the network has added more households than any other network, more than doubled its viewership in primetime year-to-year, and ranked first for growth in time spent viewing, according to Nielsen Media Research (August '01-July '02). Last year Hallmark Cards. and Crown Media Holdings re-launched Crown Media's US cable channel Odyssey Network as the Hallmark Channel

The re-launch was seen as a key part of Crown Media's business strategy to create a global television network dedicated to delivering quality family-friendly entertainment. In its first 12 months since launch, Hallmark Channel attained the most subscriber growth of any cable network. The network has grown 43 per cent, adding 14.1 million subscriber homes (August '01-July '02). Hallmark Channel was followed by Food Network and TV Land, in second and third positions respectively. The network currently reaches 47 million homes across the US and is distributed in all of the 211 DMA's measured by Nielsen.

In addition to distribution growth, Hallmark ranked first among all cable networks in primetime household viewership growth with an increase of 116 per cent, based on a year-to-year comparison (August '01 to July '02 vs. August '00 to July '01). Rounding out the measured categories, the network ranked first in time spent viewing for primetime. The average time spent viewed increased by 24 per cent, based on year-to-year comparisons (3Q'01-2Q'02 v 3Q'00- 2Q'01).

Further supporting the network's growth in its first year was the major boost in viewership among key demographics. Among women 25-54, viewership increased 110 per cent in total day and 89 per cent in primetime. Among Adults 25-54, viewership increased 94 per cent in total day, and 76 per cent in primetime over the previous year (August '01  July '02 vs. August '00 - July '01). Hallmark claims to have set record-breaking ratings in first quarter of this year with a .6 HH rating in primetime, and during the week of Jan. 20, 2002, the six-part miniseries Roots averaged a 1.7 HH rating and earned record ratings for the network every evening it aired. Primetime programming milestones for the year include:

On 22 Jan, 2002, Hallmark Channel delivered its highest-rated telecast Roots: Part 3, earning an average of 1.8 HH rating and peaking at 1.9 HH rating.  On 24 Jan Roots: Part 5 delivered the second-highest telecast, earning an average household rating of 1.8 and peaking at 2.0.  The network scored high with its original miniseries, Mark Twain's Roughing It, Part One delivered a 1.6 HH rating on March 16, 2002, to become the network's highest rated original. In addition, Stranded, Part One on June 15, 2002, delivered a 1.0 HH rating.

The unscripted, award-winning documentary series Adoption the network's first regularly scheduled original, delivered its highest average rating of .7 HH rating during the week of June 30, 2002. Hallmark Channel also achieved impressive growth on the advertising sales front, doubling its revenue this year and increasing its advertiser base to more than 250 in 2002, from 150 in 2001.

Hallmark Channel is a 24-hour television network that provides high quality, entertainment programming that is family-friendly to a national audience of 47 million subscribers. In the US the programme service is distributed through 1,700 cable systems, DirecTV (Channel 312) and EchoStar (DISH Channel 185) direct-to-home satellite services and C-Band dish owners across the country.

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