HALLMARK CHANNEL SIGNS APPLEBEE'S AS FIRST-EVER SPONSOR OF A "WATCH WITH ME" INITIATIVE
Channel Also Teams with Cable in the Classroom for a Special "Watch With Me" Presentation of Original Movie "You've Got A Friend"
Hallmark Channel has signed Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar as the first-ever advertiser of its "Watch With Me" public affairs initiative. The world's largest casual dining concept will sponsor a special encore airing of the network's original movie "The Reading Room," starring James Earl Jones, on Monday, October 29 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT). In addition, Hallmark Channel has teamed with Cable in the Classroom on a special "Watch With Me" multi-dimensional presentation of its original movie "You've Got A Friend," starring John Schneider, to air Tuesday, October 23 (9-11 p.m., ET/PT).
Applebee's signed on to sponsor this "Watch With Me" presentation of "The Reading Room" because the restaurant chain's neighborhood theme is well matched with the plot of the movie about a man opening a free neighborhood reading room for the residents of his community.
"We're thrilled about Applebee's sponsorship of �Watch With Me'," said Bill Abbott, Executive Vice President, Advertising Sales. "As the leading provider of family-friendly content we offer our advertising partners a quality environment in which to platform their products and core values."
This "Watch With Me" airing of "The Reading Room" will be supported by customized Applebee's on-air interstitials and a specially designed microsite. Throughout the original movie, the interstitials will direct viewers to www.hallmarkchannel.com to find out more about "Watch With Me" and Applebee's, and will underscore the importance of gathering everyone in the home together. The interstitials weave together clips from the movie with Applebee's special neighborhood messaging and present topical questions that relate to the theme of the movie. The microsite features family discussion topics, lessons and activities, including instructions on writing a story and building a book, ideas for family reading time, and links to associations that support reading and mentoring, such as Reading is Fundamental and Community For Youth.
To further support the network's "Watch With Me" public affairs initiative, Hallmark Channel has teamed up with Cable in the Classroom in order to reach the many educators and teachers that benefit from the organization's mission. Together, Hallmark Channel and CIC created a co-branded microsite featuring family viewing discussion topics, lessons and activities, recipes, and links to popular organizations for mentoring America's youth, including Boys & Girls Club of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The network also donated DVDs of "You've Got A Friend" to the organization to distribute to educators interested in viewing/teaching the movie in their classroom. To obtain a free DVD educators are asked to e-mail Cable in the Classroom at firstname.lastname@example.org. As it does for its monthly Cable in the Classroom movie presentations, the network also created an educator's guide revolving around the themes of the movie, available for free download at http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/publish/consumer/home/educator_guides.html.
Cable in the Classroom has also posted information about the movie airing on its website homepage and a link to reach the specially designed microsite. It can be reached at http://www.ciconline.org/hallmark.
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 85 million subscribers. The top tier program service is distributed through more than 5,300 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Hallmark Channel consistently ranks among the top 10 ad-supported cable networks in Prime Time and Total Day household ratings and is the nation's leading network in providing quality family programming. Crown Media also operates a second 24-hour linear channel, Hallmark Movie Channel, and will launch Hallmark Movie Channel HD in first quarter 2008.