Last week I cringed at some reports that might have led people to believe the average age of a channel’s viewers mattered more than the absolute ratings. Those reports noted that the advertising recovery was faster among channels targeting older viewers. I then probably spent too much time trying to debunk those notions.
The Hallmark Channel definitely attracts older viewers but due to ratings declines earned less revenue in Q2. Without more data, I can’t say for certain, but it looks like the age-related recover discussed last week was a bigger deal than I thought. Yes, Hallmark Channel’s ad revenue was down, but it was only down around 4% while ratings were down a whopping 23%. So it’s possible they could have had ratings decreases of say, only 10% and still increased revenue.
Of much bigger concern for Hallmark Channel than what I think is that compared to two years ago, the ratings carnage is even worse. Hallmark Channel lost 40% of its Q2 audience in primetime vs Q2 2008.
The network took in $49.7 million in second quarter ad sales, down from $51.8 million a year ago. Per parent company Crown Media’s 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the decrease in ad dollars was directly related to Hallmark Channel’s slumping deliveries.
Per Nielsen ratings data, Hallmark Channel’s average prime time deliveries plummeted 23 percent in Q2, with an average nightly draw of 730,000 viewers. Hallmark closed out the quarter ranked 27th among ad-supported cable networks, down from 22nd place in the year-ago period. Two years ago, Hallmark was ranked No. 13, averaging 1.21 million viewers in prime.