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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Crown Media Family Networks, the country's leading destination for quality, heartwarming entertainment, and YouTube TV have reached an agreement to launch Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama on the streaming service, the companies announced today. The launch of Crown Media's linear networks expands Hallmark's footprint on YouTube TV, which already carries the company's SVOD service, Hallmark Movies Now, as an optional add-on offering.

You can read the full release from Crown Media here.
 

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I've been predicting for awhile now that we'd see YTTV add their only two missing major channel groups, Hallmark and A+E, to make it a full-fledged competitor to the standard cable bundle. So here's Hallmark, at least. I figured its addition would coincide with the next YTTV price hike, up to $70 or $75. But after yanking all those RSNs from the service awhile back but not lowering the price, I guess they had room to add Hallmark without increasing the price.

Meanwhile, I see that Frndly TV is adding the A+E nets and upping their price a buck to $9/mo for the standard plan. Because Frndly has always offered the Hallmark nets, plus other family-friendly channels lacking from YTTV, it's been positioned as a logical complement to it. Now that Frndly's main attraction, Hallmark, is being added to YTTV, I guess they figured they needed some other popular channels that YTTV lacks. The A+E nets are also missing from FuboTV.
 

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I've been predicting for awhile now that we'd see YTTV add their only two missing major channel groups, Hallmark and A+E, to make it a full-fledged competitor to the standard cable bundle. So here's Hallmark, at least. I figured its addition would coincide with the next YTTV price hike, up to $70 or $75. But after yanking all those RSNs from the service awhile back but not lowering the price, I guess they had room to add Hallmark without increasing the price.

Meanwhile, I see that Frndly TV is adding the A+E nets and upping their price a buck to $9/mo for the standard plan. Because Frndly has always offered the Hallmark nets, plus other family-friendly channels lacking from YTTV, it's been positioned as a logical complement to it. Now that Frndly's main attraction, Hallmark, is being added to YTTV, I guess they figured they needed some other popular channels that YTTV lacks. The A+E nets are also missing from FuboTV.
Fubo used to carry A+E nets but were dropped rather recently, according to complaints from users (on facebook).

Also, frndlyTV is raising its basic price from $5.99/mo to $6.99/mo.
Frndly TV Reaches Deal with A+E Networks, Raises Subscription Price for the First Time - The Streamable

The Classic plan is going from $7.99/mo to $8.99/mo, still just a $1 increase.

If it's just a $1 increment than A&E isn't that expensive, so wonder why Fubo had to drop it, given Fubo's much higher pricing points.

Sorry to sidetrack away from YouTube TV's announcement, but on FrndlyTV since it was brought up

a. I wish frndlyTV would focus on improving it's EPG and app. I was content with all the new channels prior to A&E, and thought it was time it improved their app, as it can be painful using. It looks and feels like the software in a VCR.
b. Kind of surprised frndlyTV added A&E. It seemed that frndlyTV was more in pursuit of conservative/"heartland" channels over mainstream corporate owned networks like that of A&E. I figured RFD and The Cowboy Channel were likely to be added, followed by TBN and religious channels, and maybe eventually NewsMax and OANN targeting conservative Americans.
c. If it was going mainstream, I'd rather see the AMC Networks over A&E.
d. I'm anyways glad I got upgraded to an annual subscription recently, so I won't be impacted by the price increase.

As per YouTubeTV, Hallmark is a good addition. But the Hallmark fans will also want and ask for GAC Family, a competitor channel but one that is producing similar type of movies.
 

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c. If it was going mainstream, I'd rather see the AMC Networks over A&E.
The content from the various AMC nets is now available in a standalone service, AMC+, for $9. They're trying to build that out, so maybe they're not as interested in being part of the similarly-priced Frndly TV. Also, even though I would agree that some of the content on the A+E nets doesn't fit Frndly TV's "family-friendly" brand, it still strikes me as a better fit than AMC (home of "Kevin Can F**k Himself").

As for the A+E nets, you still can only get them as part of a multi-channel package. Before this, the cheapest option was Philo at $25. But now you can get them as part of the very-cheap Frndly TV. Same situation with the Hallmark nets. Looks like both companies want to stick with just their linear channels as opposed to also offering a direct-to-consumer option like AMC+. The fact that A+E has two owners, Disney and Hearst, probably also complicates their ability to launch their own service. Disney wouldn't want another competitor to Hulu.
 

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The content from the various AMC nets is now available in a standalone service, AMC+, for $9. They're trying to build that out, so maybe they're not as interested in being part of the similarly-priced Frndly TV. Also, even though I would agree that some of the content on the A+E nets doesn't fit Frndly TV's "family-friendly" brand, it still strikes me as a better fit than AMC (home of "Kevin Can F**k Himself").

As for the A+E nets, you still can only get them as part of a multi-channel package. Before this, the cheapest option was Philo at $25. But now you can get them as part of the very-cheap Frndly TV. Same situation with the Hallmark nets. Looks like both companies want to stick with just their linear channels as opposed to also offering a direct-to-consumer option like AMC+. The fact that A+E has two owners, Disney and Hearst, probably also complicates their ability to launch their own service. Disney wouldn't want another competitor to Hulu.
Good point about the some of AMC content not being family friendly enough. I suppose that is a concern for the frndlyTV owners since their branding is dependent on it. I like however the BBC America/BBC World News channel that gets bundled with the AMC channels.

The Lifetime channels also have Christmas movies and other made for TV movies, which I suppose is semi complementary to Hallmark, GAC Family and PixL, and could fit in the frndlyTV channel selection. I'm still surprised that frndlyTV has added so many channels this year, all with just a $1 price increase.
 

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The Lifetime channels also have Christmas movies and other made for TV movies, which I suppose is semi complementary to Hallmark, GAC Family and PixL, and could fit in the frndlyTV channel selection. I'm still surprised that frndlyTV has added so many channels this year, all with just a $1 price increase.
FrndlyTV has kind of become the low-cost home for the "leftover" channels that aren't owned by any of the bigger media companies that have their own direct-to-consumer service. Those channels tend to charge cable providers relatively low carriage rates, so FrndlyTV can keep their prices down. They've carved out a pretty nice little niche for themselves as a complement to other sources.
 

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frndlyTV is kind of replacing Philo and Sling on that front, of being low-cost, leaving those two somewhat in the middle of neither that low-cost, or complete enough as services.

On the family friendly front, LMN airs its own produced movies like Room For Murder- movies that might not be family friendly. It seems frndlyTV passed on LRW, but might have had to take LMN, even if might have not wanted to carry it. Philo doesn't have LRW either, but frndly picked up Military History unliked Philo.

Nonetheless, the package of channels from A&E/Lifetime is a positive. I'm kind of glad that Lifetime still has King of Queens rights, as it is airing on fyi still. If the package wasn't all that expensive, it makes no sense to me why fubo dropped the channels unless A&E/Lifetime offered a lower rate to frndly since these channels will be more visible in a smaller set of channels - likely to get more viewership, than fubo's larger set of channels, or another reason.

I wonder if frndly can package a frndlyTV+ add-on, with LMN, and maybe MGM HD, SONY Movies and AXS TV/HDNet Movies as well, TV One/CLEO TV, and newer channels that might not need to go in the basic package, or a mix in the basic and rest in a plus package. Some of those aren't particularly family friendly content oriented though, but neither is LMN, per se. Buzzr and NASA might be available at little or no cost as well to be added.
 

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YouTube TV announced today that they've struck a deal with Sony to add Game Show Network and getTV to the $65/mo base line-up. Like the three Hallmark channels that YTTV added a month ago, those two new additional channels are also available on FrndlyTV. At this point, the A+E nets are really the only main things missing from the YTTV line-up (and about the only reasons why someone might still opt to subscribe to both YTTV and FrndlyTV at the same time). I expect we'll see the A+E channels added to YTTV next year, coinciding with a price increase to $70/mo. (YTTV's main competitor, Hulu with Live TV, recently upped their price to $70/mo but added Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of the package.)
 
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