Upfronts 2014: Crown Expects 20% Jump in Upfront Sales

Original programming, movie network rebrand, add value, Georger says
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Crown Media Family Networks expects a 20% increase in upfront sales for the 2014-15 broadcast year.

Speaking at an upfront press lunch, Ed Georger, Crown Media executive VP of ad sales and digital media, said he thought the cable market will be especially strong this year.

Crown's Hallmark Channel has successfully launched original series to go with the original movies it airs during the Christmas holiday season.

"There's a healthy appetite for original episodic programming on the Hallmark Channel," Georger said. "Advertisers put a high value on the high quality original family programming available only on Hallmark Channel."

In the fourth quarter, Crown reported that ad revenues were up 17%. For all of 2013, sales were up 10%.

The company also announced plans to rebrand the Hallmark Movie Channel as Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

The new brand should help attract additional advertisers, Georger said. "There are a lot of clever ways to wrap brands in that genre," he said.

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