Hallmark Channel Holiday Countdown

Hallmark Countdown

‘HALLMARK CHANNEL HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN’ INITIATIVE UNVEILED

New Year-Round Programming and Marketing Campaign
Celebrates Excitement and Sentiment of Major Annual Holidays

Hallmark Channel, the premiere television destination for family entertainment, will debut its new year-round, holiday countdown programming and marketing campaign, “Hallmark Channel Holiday Countdown,” a cross-platform initiative that will launch with “Countdown to Halloween” and continue with “Countdown to Thanksgiving,” before culminating in a major five-week long programming and marketing blitz celebrating “Countdown to Christmas.”

With the new initiative, the channel will devote ongoing special event status leading to major holidays throughout the year.
The ambitious campaigns for each featured holiday will be implemented through a variety of formats and platforms including on-air, online, ad sponsor packages and a retail promotion with more than 3,200 participating Hallmark Gold Crown® stores nationwide.

“As part of our ambitious plans for re-shaping Hallmark Channel while staying true to and capitalizing on the incredible value of the Hallmark brand, we will be creating events by wrapping programming and promotional resources around the many holidays that are celebrated throughout the year,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Hallmark Channel. “These are golden opportunities for us to take ownership of a space that has proven appeal to consumers, has natural and numerous opportunities for synergy with Hallmark Cards and is not occupied by any other network.”

“‘Hallmark Channel Holiday Countdown’ springs right from the core of the Hallmark brand essence and invites viewers to embrace this channel as their destination for great holiday entertainment all year long,” he added.

The “Countdown” campaigns will also include microsites found at the consumer website www.hallmarkchannel.com, sponsored customizable vignettes and on-air promos and keyables that will remind viewers about the number of days remaining before each holiday.

For “Countdown to Christmas,” Hallmark Channel also will partner with Hallmark Gold Crown® stores to produce a national sweepstakes that will run November 1 through December 24. Participating Hallmark Gold Crown® stores will distribute customer appreciation packs featuring tune-in information, custom affiliate messaging, more than $50 in savings on Hallmark Gold Crown® product and sweepstakes information. The “Holiday Homecoming Sweepstakes” will award four grand prizes featuring $25,000 cash and a hosted, holiday homecoming party for up to 20 of the winners’ family members. This year, the sweepstakes will be sponsored nationally by Ocean Spray and will attain more than 470 systems representing more than 40 million subscribers. Consumers may enter at www.hallmarkchannel.com by using their Crown Rewards Cards at Hallmark Gold Crown stores during the period, or via mail.

The homepage of the consumer website, www.hallmarkchannel.com, will be re-wrapped November 21, with the new “Countdown to Christmas” look and feel. Corresponding on-air spots will run throughout the holiday. All on-air and online elements are being conceptualized, crafted and produced in-house by Hallmark Channel’s Creative Services team.
Hallmark Channel will also sponsor a local ad sales promotion designed to support affiliates’ local advertising efforts.

The “Countdown to Christmas” campaign supports Hallmark Channel’s four original holiday movies, premiering on Saturday nights, and other specially scheduled holiday event programming. The Hallmark Channel Original Movies planned for the Christmas holiday season are:

· “The National Tree,” Saturday, November 28 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT), starring Andrew McCarthy, Kari Matchett and Evan Wlliams.
· “Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle,” Saturday, December 5 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT), starring James Van Der Beek and Doris Roberts.
· “Christmas in Canaan,” Saturday, December 12 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT), starring Billy Ray Cyrus and Jaishon Fisher.
· “The Three Gifts,” Saturday, December 19 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT), starring Dean Cain, Jean Louisa Kelly, Mimi Kennedy and Reginald VelJohnson.

For a complete schedule of “Hallmark Channel Holiday Countdown” programming, visit www.hallmarkchannelpress.com.
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming to a national audience of nearly 88 million subscribers. The top-tier program service is distributed through more than 5,450 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Hallmark Channel consistently ranks among the highest-rated cable networks and is the nation’s leading network in providing quality family programming. Hallmark Channel’s sibling network, Hallmark Movie Channel, which focuses on the greatest family movies of all time, is now available in nearly 25 million households.