Crown Media Holdings (NASDAQ:CRWN) has canceled its Q1 results conference call and webcast, set for tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET, as Hallmark has wrapped its deal to take the company private.
Hallmark chief Donald Hall said the deal was done. The company had planned to pay about $175M to acquire the rest of Crown Media, home of the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
The deal's taking place through a short-form merger, possible because of the amount of Hallmark's existing ownership of the shares. Hallmark wants to save costs that it absorbed in order to keep Crown Media public, and gain some competitive flexibility.
Crown Media (CRWN +1.4%) has expanded its relationship with Nielsen (NLSN +1.1%), arranging for new services in a wider deal.
The family-focused broadcaster (runner of the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) is taking on new features including N-Score, Nielsen Buyer Insights and AdVantics Rx, from Nielsen Catalina Solutions.
N-Score (measuring celebrity fanship) will affect casting and program development decisions at the channels, while NBI will help Crown connect people's viewing habits with purchasing decisions.
The AdVantics Rx portion extends an existing relationship Crown Media has with Nielsen Catalina Solutions and well help the network connect advertising and consumer packaged goods purchase information.
The company added 5.1M Hallmark Channel subscribers in 2015, and 6.7M Hallmark Movies & Mysteries subs. For the full year, ad revenues grew 18%.
The channel again took the ratings crown among women 25-54 in November and December, with the help of its "Countdown to Christmas" programming push. More events are planned, says CEO Bill Abbott: "Forging ahead in 2016, we will continue to focus on being the celebration destination for viewers with events such as Winterfest, Countdown to Valentines Day, June Weddings, Fall Harvest, and Thanksgiving Weekend Event."
The Dallas-Washington tilt on MNF drew a week-leading 14.1M viewers to pace ESPN's prime-time average 2.8M viewers, just ahead of holiday-stuffed sibling network ABC Family, which drew 2.2M, and Fox News Channel's (FOX +0.4%, FOXA +0.3%) 2M viewers, Nielsen says.
Discovery Channel (DISCA +0.3%) and Hallmark Channel (CRWN +1.6%) were tied at No. 4 with 1.9M viewers. Hallmark scored with a pair of films breaking into the top 10: On the 12th Day of Christmas (3.5M viewers) and Family for Christmas (3.3M).
On a 24-hour basis, Fox News was No. 1 for the week. Looking at the coveted 18-49 demographic, ESPN topped the charts in prime-time, and Adult Swim on a 24-hour basis.
Crown Media Holdings (CRWN -0.7%) says that Timothy Griffith and Steve Doyal are retiring from the board, along with their retirements from Hallmark Cards.
Directors have appointed James Shay and Molly Biwer to replace them on the board. Shay is becoming chief financial officer at Hallmark on Jan. 1, after joining earlier this year. He'll also serve on the board's Finance Committee.
Biwer is senior VP of Public Affairs and Communications at Hallmark, also after joining the company earlier this year.
The Hallmark Channel (CRWN +1.7%) is taking advantage of November's onset, switching to all holiday programming all the time and jumping to third in last week's cable ratings, averaging 1.78M viewers.
The channel plans original films each year, and I'm Not Ready for Christmas drew 3.6M viewers on Saturday while Christmas Inc. pulled 2.5M on Sunday.
For the week, Hallmark finished behind ESPN (DIS, 2.71M viewer average) and Fox News (FOX, FOXA, 2.29M average). It's planning original movies for each night during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as well, and viewership for the first two weeks of November are up 89% over October's average.
CBS won prime time among big broadcasters again, averaging 10.2M viewers, ahead of NBC (CMCSA, 8.3M), ABC (6.2M) and Fox (3.6M).
NBC Nightly News won newscasts with 9.3M, ahead of ABC's World News Tonight with 8.8M.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) is down another 5.2% today (down 13.7% in two days) amid a deepening media stock sell-off that it seems to have spurred with its Tuesday earnings report, where it took a fair chunk of time on an analyst call acknowledging subscriber losses at ESPN.
The sell-off is affecting several companies with a cable or pay-TV component, as sub losses at ESPN -- the most valuable part of any cable bundle -- point to the effect of cord-cutting.
Analysts are agreeing that the trend of unbundling (or skinny bundling) might threaten the long-term health of the pay TV ecosystem, which has profited from the promise of rising subscription fees from providers. That's dependent on subscriber counts that don't significantly drop off.
A growing pile of reports this week is indicating warning signs for subscriber counts. Dish Network (DISH -2.2%) had "almost certainly the worst quarter" for satellite subscriber losses, analyst Craig Moffett noted, as it merged Sling TV subscriber growth into its overall count, masking the core number. Moffett estimates Dish lost 151K satellite TV customers in Q2.
Subscriber losses mean lower affiliate fees. Disney said in its call "we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
Crown Media (NASDAQ:CRWN) is up 3.8% after its Q2 results where it grew EPS 50% Y/Y on a 16% revenue gain paced by strong ratings-based advertising growth.
Adjusted EBITDA grew 26% to $46.7M. Cash from operating activities was $33.7M vs. a year-ago $32.4M.
Revenue by segment: Advertising, $88.9M (up 18.5%); Subscriber fees, $20.6M (down 1.8%; revenue dropped from one distributor); Advertising by Hallmark Cards, $500K (down 42.5%); Other, $3.32M (up 482%, due to licensing revenue from original scripted series).
Crown Media Holdings (NASDAQ:CRWN) says it's closed a new $425M in senior secured credit facilities.
The move will mean two facilities, a $325M term loan and $100M revolver.
About $80M of the $325M term loan will be used to pay fees and terminate its existing credit pact, and the rest to redeem 10.5% senior notes due 2019, while the revolving loan will be used for general purposes.