Hallmark plumps for MediaScope as ad sales partner

It's a tie-up which has ample scope. Crown Media, the parent company of made for TV movie channel Hallmark, has signed on media sales company the Rohinton Maloo run MediaScope to ramp up its ad sales in India.

Hallmark has been around in the Indian cable and satellite TV marketplace for two years. And it has been making gradual progress. The past year saw its penetration climbing 50 per cent to nine million homes, claims Hallmark parent company Crown Inc V-P & director ad sales Gregory Ang.

"Both (distribution and viewership) have reached critical mass and it is vital that we have the right advertising sales representatives to consolidate our position as an advertising vehicle that reaches a crucial demographic," says Ang.

Ang says that MediaScope's background makes it the ideal candidate for the two-year extendable deal. From 1992, it marketed ad sales for Star TV in India till the takeover by News Corp. MediaScope also launched Cartoon Network and re-launched CNN on behalf of Time Warner in India. In 2000, it kicked-off the ad sales for HBO in India for an initial six months.

MediaScope managing director Rohinton Maloo is all ready with his pitch to advertisers. Says he: "We are planning to capitalise on Hallmark's unique positioning. Currently, it is the only channel that addresses children and parents simultaneously. Consequently, using it will be very cost effective for advertisers."

Maloo also plans to leverage the 480 retail Hallmark outlets in Mumbai for promotions, the first of which will take off for Valentine's Day. Something which has worked very well in Asia Pacific for the network, according to Ang.

From 13 million homes in the region last year, the channel now reaches 18 million homes. Ang attributes the success to an integrated marketing and an on-ground presence through Hallmark Cards' extensive retail network - a unique tie-up that no other channel can boast of.

The rights holders of programmes including Sesame Street and Clifford - the Big Red Dog can also link into Hallmark Channel's media sales, says Ang. The channel is distributed to more than 83 million homes in 100 markets worldwide, he claims.

Maloo is confident that MediaScope will be up to the task and make a mark on Hallmark's ad sales graph. Says he: "The past few months have seen a spurt in advertising activity from the automobile, insurance and investment sectors, as well as growth in kid-focused advertising. This bodes well for the Hallmark Channel, which offers advertisers the perfect communication environment based on its world-class original movies, series and kids programme blocks."

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