BLM Media has resigned its £1m Hallmark Channel account amid rumours of a fall-out. BLM, the UK’s largest independent media planning and buying agency, had held the business since 2001.
An agency spokesman says the resignation follows a “disagreement over the strategic direction of the business”. BLM Group chief executive Steve Booth says the decision was also taken for “staff morale”.
He says: “Despite a five-year relationship and an expanding remit I’ve taken the difficult decision to resign the Hallmark Channel, which was essential for the morale of my staff and the continued growth and success of BLM Media.”
He says BLM helped grow Hallmark, which screens programming including House, Law & Order and Diagnosis Murder, from 22nd to 8th most popular multi-channel station among adults. The agency also introduced current owners Sparrowhawk Media Group in 2005.
It is believed the split followed clashes with Hallmark’s marketing department since the appointment of marketing director Vicky Mitchell in April. Mitchell, previously Homechoice marketing director, filled the role left vacant by Matthew Woods. He left Hallmark in July last year and subsequently joined BT to head the new entertainment arm BT Vision. Mitchell has also left.
The channel mainly features US drama, romance and adventure programming although Sparrowhawk Media UK managing director Rosie Hill-Davies admitted that rival channel Five’s plans to launch a digital station almost forced a change (MW August 17).
Earlier this summer Sparrowhawk launched Movies 24, a made-for-television movies channel on Sky that was backed by a £1m campaign from June.