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Hallmark Lures Women Back

Double-Digit Gains for ‘Marie,’ ‘Home and Family’ 10/07/2012 8:00 PM Eastern

Hallmark Channel is cozying back up to women.

Two years after its ill-fated daytime programming partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the Oct. 1 launch of the new Marie talk show, starring Marie Osmond, and lifestyle talk show Home and Family posted double-digit increases among women 25 to 54 compared to the same period in third quarter, according to network officials.

“We put a big stake in the ground with Marie and Home and Family that we feel is compelling television that really resonates with our consumers,” Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Holdings, said. “Having a lineup that is indicative of the emotional connection that people feel with our brand and our product really allows us to establish ourselves more closely with the overall Hallmark brand.”

The two-hour Home and Family series, which features home improvement, crafts and health-and-fitness programming, drew 41,000 women 25 to 54 in its Oct. 1 debut, an increase of 28% over third-quarter content that included various MSLO programs, according to network officials.

Marie drew 95,000 women 25 to 54 in the noon television slot, a whopping 493% improvement over the combined viewership for two original shows, Emeril’s Table and Petkeeping With Marc Morrone.

Hallmark’s early-morning programming faces little competition from other cable networks, which typically schedule acquired syndicated product or reruns of original shows.

REPLACING ‘MARTHA’

The new morning block is Hallmark’s second attempt in as many years to create an original programming destination for female viewers. In September 2010, the network premiered The Martha Stewart Show as a daily series, part of a multiyear deal programming deal between the network and MSLO.

The Martha Stewart Show failed to deliver viewers, however, and was pulled from the network’s lineup this past summer.

Abbott said Home and Family and Marie give the network more flexibility from the marketing, programming and distribution side than the MSLOproduced programs, which he believes will allow the network to help build awareness for the shows.

“The Martha deal was a joint effort and revenue share, so as such we didn’t want to muddy the water as two public companies with a lot of moves,” he said. “With this programming, we own it and we have the ability to take it digitally on multiple platforms and in a variety of different ways, which is diff erent from MSLO and is a big advantage for us.”

The network however, has no plans to run full episodes of either show on the Web or other distribution platforms in an effort to create appointment viewing for its audience and for cable operators.

“One of our biggest concerns overall is the proliferation of content that doesn’t necessarily get monetized outside of the umbrella of our linear television network,” he said. “We’re very protective our distribution partners and that relationship.”

LINEUP SET — FOR NOW

While Hallmark’s daytime lineup is set for now, Abbott wouldn’t rule out adding new programming to the block if there’s consumer demand for it.

“We are already playing aggressively in the daytime space, but certainly we’ll listen to our viewers and respond accordingly,” he said. “If we think there’s more of an appetite for what we’re doing, we’ll embark on different projects.”

TAKEAWAY

Hallmark Channel’s post- Martha Stewart daytime lineup is making big gains among women 25 to 54.

September