Hallmark Channel (international)

Sparrowhawk Media, Limited
Hallmark Entertainment Network, Inc.
Private company
Fate Merged out
Successor Universal Networks International
Founded 1995 (1995)
Products Cable channel
  • Diva TV
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Kermit Channel
  • Movies 24
Subsidiaries KidsCo (Joint venture)
Hallmark Channel
Launched June 1995 (1995-06)
Closed July 2011 (2011-07) [1]
Formerly called Henson Entertainment Network
Replaced by
Sister channel(s)
  • Diva TV
  • Kermit Channel (1998-2002)
  • KidsCo (2009-2011)
  • Movies 24 (2009-2011)
  • CNBC International (2007-2011)
  • Sci Fi Channel (2007-2011)
Website www.hallmarkchannelint.com

The Hallmark Channels, formerly Hallmark Entertainment Network, in international markets were owned by several media companies . Over their history, the channels were operated by Hallmark Entertainment Networks, Inc. (1995-2005), Sparrowhawk Media, Limited (2005-2007) and Universal Networks International (2007-2011). Universal Networks International rebranded or discontinued the channels by July 2011. Hallmark Entertainment Networks, Inc. was owned by Crown Media Holdings, Inc. Sparrowhawk Media was owned by venture capital companies and Universal Networks International is owned by NBCUniversal.


Hallmark Entertainment Network

Crown Media thus shifted directions in 1994 with the sale of the cable systems. Also that year, Hallmark Cards purchased RHI Entertainment for $365 million getting a 1,800 plus hours film library then formed Hallmark Entertainment as RHI's parent corporation. Hallmark Entertainment then formed Hallmark Entertainment Network, Inc. in mid-1995 to start the Hallmark Entertainment Network (HEN) pay TV channel in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The company waited to start a domestic channel due to lack of carriage space and its programming domestic rights were held by others.[2] The Benelux channel launched in June 1995.[3]

Hallmark Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company started a partnership in May 1998 to launch the Kermit Channel in Asia and Latin America expect to start in September 1998 with distribution handled by Hallmark Entertainment Network. The HEN channels had internationally about six million subscribers at this time.[2]

Crown Media was reformed into Crown Media Holdings, Inc. in 2000 as part of a re-organizational plan that included the company going public. Crown Media Holdings was formed as a subsidiary of Hallmark Entertainment (Hallmark). Hallmark transferred Hallmark Entertainment Network, Inc. and its interest in the Odyssey Network into Crown Media Holdings. While its channels had 50 million subscribers at the IPO, the company had not made a profit yet with Hallmark Entertainment Network, Inc. losing $35.5 million in 1998 on revenue of $23.7 million, and in 1999 it lost $56.7 million on revenue of $31.9 million.[2]

EM.TV had Henson Company withdrawal from the Kermit Channel partnership with Crown Media. In November 2001, Kermit Channel Asia except for in India was shut down while Kermit blocks remained on the Asian HEN. The channel was discontinued in India in December 2001.[4]

When Crown took control of and renamed the Odyssey Network channel to the Hallmark Channel in August 2001 with plans to quickly add original programming,[5] the international Hallmark Entertainment Network soon did the same.[6]

Sparrowhawk Media

In 2005, Hallmark Entertainment put the Hallmark Channels up for sale, but with disappointing offers with drew the channels from the market.[7] The European media library rights[3] and Hallmark Channels in international markets were sold for about $242 million in 2005 to Sparrowhawk Media, a private group backed by Providence Equity Partners and 3i[8] and also owned by David Elstein.[9] NBC Universal soon became the channels' major supplier.[3]

On July 1, 2006, Sparrowhawk Media launched Movies 24 free to air film channel on Sky with Dolphin Television as the ad sales company,[10] followed by its two hour time shift More 24 on October 16, 2006.[11] The company, Corus Entertainment and DIC Entertainment announced in early April 2007 for a joint venture children's TV channel, KidsCo.[12]

NBCUniversal agreed to purchased Sparrowhawk Media, international operator of Hallmark Channel, in August 2007.[8] There were 18 Hallmark Channels at this time.[13] The company had on its immediate schedule plans to launch KidsCo in September[14] and Diva TV channel in the UK[9] in October 23rd with Movie24 Plus.[15] Sparrowhawk was merged into NBCU’s global networks division.[8]

With Hallmark trademark rights reverting in July 2011, Universal Networks International switches over the international Hallmark channels to either Diva Universal, Studio Universal, 13th Street Universal or Universal Channel or shuts them down.[1]

Halmark Channels

MarketHEN launchHalmark Channel
rebranding or launch
Replaced date
BeneluxJune 1995[3]discontinued (Dutch)July 20, 2011[1]
UK February 2000[16]Universal Channel October 18, 2010[17]
N/AHD: 28 June 2010[18]Universal Channel HD
Universal Channel +1
Scandilux (English; Sweden plus
Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania)
January 13, 2000discontinued2009[19]
Turkey2000Universal ChannelSeptember 2010[20]
IsraelJuly 2000[21]discontinuedDecember 28, 2009[22]
Czech (also Slovakia)December 6, 2000Universal ChannelSeptember 2010[23]
ItalyDiva UniversalApril 1, 2011[24]
AsiaDiva UniversalSeptember 19, 2010[25]
Croatia (also Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Universal Channel2010[26]
AustraliaApril 1999[27]Universal ChannelJuly 1 2010[28]
Russia1998Diva Universallate 2010[29]
Poland13th Street UniversalSeptember 13, 2010[30]
RomaniaDiva UniversalSeptember 21, 2010[31]
Latin America1997Studio UniversalFebruary 1, 2010[32]

Other channels

channelMarketAir dateReplacement
Replaced date
KermitAsia September 1998[2] discontinued India December 2002
Latin America
Movies 24UKJuly 1, 2006[10]
More 24UKOctober 16, 2006[11]


  1. 1 2 3 Briel, Robert (June 3, 2011). "NBCUni stops Dutch Hallmark Channel". Broadband TV News. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "History of Crown Media Holdings, Inc.". International Directory of Company Histories. Volume 45. St. James Press. 2002. Retrieved December 27, 2017 via FundingUniverse.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Chalaby, Jean K. (2009). Transnational Television in Europe: Reconfiguring Global Communications Networks. I.B.Tauris. p. 141. ISBN 9780857717474. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  4. "Kermit goes off the air; Hallmark, Modi Entertainment may launch family channel". Indian Television Dot Com. December 22, 2002. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  5. "History of Hallmark Cards, Inc.". International Directory of Company Histories. Volume 45. St. James Press. 2002. Retrieved December 28, 2017 via FundingUniverse.
  6. "Odyssey becomes Hallmark". DeseretNews.com. August 3, 2001. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  7. Sims, James (July 14, 2006). "Milestone: Hallmark Channel at 5". The Hollywood Reporter. AP. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  8. 1 2 3 Haycock, Gavin (28 August 2007). "NBC Universal agrees to buy Sparrowhawk Media". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
  9. 1 2 Pfanner, Eric (31 August 2007). "NBC Universal buys 18 Hallmark channels outside the U.S." International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on August 31, 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  10. 1 2 "Sparrowhawk Media launches Movies 24". Campaign UK. Haymarket Media Group Ltd. May 9, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  11. 1 2 Oatts, Joanne (October 6, 2006). "Movies 24 launches More 24". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  12. "DIC spearheads kids' channel". Variety. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  13. Holmwood, Leigh (28 August 2007). "NBC Universal to buy Sparrowhawk Holdings for £174m". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  14. Szalai, Georg (May 4, 2012). "NBCUniversal International Raises Stake in Children's Channel KidsCo". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  15. "UKTV Drama timeshift added to VM lineup". Digital Spy. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  16. Shelton, Ed (October 8, 1999). "Media: Hallmark signs up to Sky to broach UK digital market". PR Week. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  17. Laughlin, Andrew (2 September 2010). "Hallmark Channel to rebrand as Universal". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  18. Wilkes, Neil (28 June 2010). "Hallmark Channel HD to launch tonight". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  19. Observatory, European Audiovisual. "TV Channel: Hallmark Entertainment Network (Scandilux)". MAVISE. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  20. Observatory, European Audiovisual. "TV Channel: Universal Channel (Turkey)". MAVISE. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  21. "Crown Media launches Hallmark in Israel". Screen Daily. Screen International. 25 July 2000. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  22. Averbach, Li-Or (December 2, 2009). "Hallmark Channel to end Israel broadcasts". Globes English (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  23. "TV Channel: Universal Channel (Czech)". mavise. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  24. Roffi, Mauro (24 March 2011). "Nasce Diva Universal". Millecanali (in Italian). New Business Media Srl. Retrieved 28 December 2017. In place of Hallmark (translation).
  25. "Diva Universal To Replace Hallmark". Media Research Asia.com. August 5, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  26. "TV Channel: Universal Channel (Croatia)". mavise. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  27. Joyce, James (April 26, 1999). "Tunedin". Newcastle Herald. p. 6. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  28. Knox, David (28 May 2010). "Hallmark switch to Universal Channel". TV Tonight. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  29. Dziadul, Chris (June 11, 2010). "Hallmark to rebrand in Russia". Broadband TV News. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  30. Dziadul, Chris (August 13, 2010). "Universal Networks channel change in Poland". Broadband TV News. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  31. Alexandrescu, Adrian (September 21, 2010). "Hallmark Channel devine Diva Universal". Strategic. Întreaga industrie de comunicare. Retrieved January 8, 2018. Translation.
  32. "Hallmark Channel a partir de Febrero es STUDIO UNIVERSAL". Real TV News (in Spanish). January 28, 2010. Archived from the original on November 27, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
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