Silent Night on Crown Media Call - Broadcasting & Cable

Silent Night on Crown Media Call

Investors and analysts have no questions about 3Q earnings
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In an unusual development, there were no questions at the end of Crown Media’s third quarter earnings call Monday.

Crown’s calls used to feature hectoring questions from some investors who felt that the stock price was too low as a result of a recapitalization orchestrated by Hallmark Cards, which owns about 90% of the company.

But in the past few quarters as Crown’s stock price has risen from about $3.21 a share in February to more than $6 last week, those complaints have quieted.

Crown Media stock traded at $5.92 a share, down 2.25% Tuesday afternoon.

Crown Media runs the Hallmark cable networks.

On the call, CEO Bill Abbott detailed the company’s financial results and its strong ad sales performance.

Abbott said that in the upfront, the Hallmark Channels outpaced most of their competitors with volume up 9% at Hallmark Channel and 17% at Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. He said prices were up in the low to mid-single digits on both networks. Incumbent sponsors increased the share of their budgets spent on Hallmark networks, and new advertisers signed on as sponsors.

Digital revenue growth was also strong, up 100% in the upfront.

In the third-quarter scatter market, Hallmark Channel's volume grew 67% over the same period last year with CPMs increasing 49% over upfront. On Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, total scatter volume grew 128% over the same time period last year, with CPMs increasing 36% above upfront Abbott said.

With holiday programming airing on both networks, Abbott said the company expected a very successful fourth quarter.

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