Sky Media to retain Hallmark Channel's contract for ad sales

Sky Media has retained the third-party advertising sales contract for the Hallmark Channel.

The Hallmark Channel, which according to Barb data is the sixth-most-watched channel in multichannel homes, put its contract up for review in the spring, inviting other broadcasters to pitch to represent the channel.

However, it has opted to extend its contract with Sky Media, which has represented the channel since its launch in May 2000, for a further three years starting in January 2005.

The three-year deal was negotiated by the Hallmark Channel's chief executive, Jeff Henry, its vice-president of sales, Mark Taylor, and Sky Media's managing director, Nick Milligan.

"It was Sky Media's expertise, extensive resources and undoubted strength in the multichannel environment which we felt could provide us with the greatest benefits," Henry said.

"The Hallmark Channel has been a distinctive and highly valued part of the Sky Media portfolio since its launch," Milligan added.

The Hallmark Channel is owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, the media division of the Hallmark Cards empire. However, Crown Media is trying to find a buyer for its non-US TV channels. David Elstein, the former five chief executive, has been mooted as leading a bid.