Crown Media posts $ 51 m net revenue for Q3 '03

MUMBAI: Crown Media, the parent company of Hallmark in India, has posted net revenues of $ 51 million in the third quarter of 2003, 27 per cent over that of last year's corresponding figure.


Advertising revenues for the quarter totaled $20.8 million, a hike of 15 per cent from Q3 2002, reflecting increased distribution, an enhanced programming schedule, higher ratings for the channels and higher advertising rates, specifically in the US and the United Kingdom. For the nine months ended 30 September 2003, revenues jumped 16 per cent to $138.4 million, from $118.9 million for the prior year period. Year-to-date ad revenues showed a climb of 30 per cent to $66.8 million, from $51.6 million in the first nine months of 2002, according to a company release.

Subscriber fee revenue in the third quarter increased four per cent to $17.5 million, from $16.9 million in the prior year's quarter, as a result of increased distribution of the channel internationally. Licensing fees for the Crown Media library increased to $12.6 million during the quarter, from $5.0 million in the prior year's quarter, due to increased sales and the timing of license period start dates.

While the channel may still be struggling to find an increasing viewer base in India, Hallmark Channel subscribers increased 16 to 111.2 million worldwide as of 30 September 2003, from 95.7 million subscribers as of last year. The channel ended the quarter with 54.6 million subscribers in the United States and 56.6 million international subscribers across 122 countries, the release claims.

The US channel expand its reach in the third quarter with new launches in Phoenix, Arizona; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; and several markets in Hawaii. The channel has added 1.4 million new subscribers on Time Warner systems alone in 2003, the release says. With the recent announcement of an affiliation agreement with Comcast, the US channel now has a long-term agreement with every major cable and satellite distributor in the country, accounting for nearly 95 per cent of domestic cable and satellite TV homes.

Hallmark Channel US again ranked number one in year-to-year growth in total day household delivery among the 50 ad-supported cable networks, the release says. The channel more than doubled its year-to-year delivery of households in total day and tied its all time high household rating in both total day and prime time for the third quarter of 2003 as compared to 2002. The company claims that original programming and the addition of several classic series in the US drove ratings and expanded the demographics of the viewing audience.

International markets continued to sustain their positive momentum for 2003. The UK channel delivered its highest ratings to date for the third quarter and September, with a 50 per cent increase in ratings for September 2003 as compared to last year. The UK channel was the fourth most-watched channel among women and fifth among all adults. Hallmark Channel has moved up in its top ten ranking at the end of September in several other countries, including Poland, South Africa and the Czech Republic, the release says.

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