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Sunday, Sep 24, 2023

Lower Ad Sales Hurt Crown’s Quarter

Crown Media Holdings Inc. on Thursday said lower ratings and ad sales at its Hallmark cable channels led to a larger loss in the second quarter.

The Studio City company reported a net loss of $8.9 million (-8 cents per share), compared with a loss of $5.3 million (-5 cents) a year earlier.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $65.7 million. The company saw a 4 percent drop in advertising sales to $49.7 million, as its cable audience declined and it was unable to charge as much for ad time.

Even so, revenue from the fees Crown charges cable and satellite providers to carry its channels remained steady at $15.9 million.

Noting the future benefits from its programming partnership with Martha Stewart, Chief Executive Bill Abbott said ratings should improve this fall. Hallmark Channel will introduce a new daytime programming block on Sept. 13 including the exclusive premiere of the sixth season of “The Martha Stewart Show” followed by original programming developed around the lifestyle genre.

“We are very excited about the introduction of our new original lifestyle programming on Hallmark Channel, and the unprecedented move of an original series from broadcast network to cable,” Abbott said. “Early indications from advertisers and distributors confirm our expectations of the combined value and appeal of our new daytime format.”

Shares were up 4 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.05 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

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