Crown Media is considering selling US operations

MUMBAI: After selling its international business including the international operations of Hallmark earlier this year for $242 million Crown Media is now exploring selling its operations in the US including Hallmark.

In support of this initiative, a special committee of independent directors of the board of directors has been formed to oversee the process.



Hallmark Cards which has a stake in Crown Media has advised Crown Media's board of directors that it fully supports the board's determination. Hallmark has also advised the Board that it would consider entering into a license agreement with respect to the Hallmark Channel name in connection with a sale if requested by a potential buyer.



Crown Media president and CEO David Evans said, "After considering various factors, including the strong performance of the Hallmark Channel and the prevailing current economic realities of being a one channel business in our industry, the Board unanimously determined that now is the time to look at all alternatives. Since its launch just four years ago, Hallmark Channel has experienced tremendous growth in all of its key business areas, including distribution, ratings and revenues. Today, Hallmark Channel is one of the top ten rated cable channels in both total day and prime time with nearly 70 million subscribers, and is well-positioned for continued success."

Earlier this month Crown Media had announced that its revenue had increase by 50 per cent for the second quarter of 2005.Revenue in the second quarter of 2005 increased to $45.7 million, from $30.4 million in the prior year's second quarter. Ad revenues for the quarter totalled $38.1 million, an increase of 44 per cent from the second quarter of 2004. Subscriber fee revenues increased 41 per cent to $4.2 million as free carriage periods expired for certain subscribers.

Hallmark Channel US subscribers increased by 13 per cent to 68.5 million as of June 30, 2005, from 60.6 million subscribers as of June 30, 2004. The company has attributed this to the success of its grass roots efforts campaign combined with the appeal of original programming.

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