Hallmark Plans Movie Channel

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Even though it’s just getting its main network on track, Hallmark Channel is launching an all-movies channel predictably called Hallmark Movie Channel. Scheduled to launch in January, the service is planned as a low-cost network as a bonus for operators to put on their digital tiers.

David Evans, CEO of Hallmark Channel owner Crown Media, said the ad-supported channel "is really as much an initiative for distributing our core channel." Hallmark Channel is in about 54 million homes, but the network still has big gaps and is on high tiers in some cable systems.

Since Hallmark is already paying significant launch fees for carriage of the main channel, Crown executives want to have something to offer rather than cash. The network will be programmed with five movies per day, shown in a block repeated three times. The films will be drawn from Hallmark Entertainment’s library plus other Hollywood packages the channel has licensed.

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