Walden and Hallmark team up for family-friendly Fridays

Published: Thursday, March 14 2013 5:50 p.m. MDT

“In addition to our co-presenting role for Walden Family Theater, we are excited to have our brands strategically integrated into six new, original films produced by leaders in family entertainment,” Procter & Gamble Entertainment spokeswoman Lindsey Erdahl told the Deseret News. “P&G’s products all lend themselves in one way or another to helping care for families. The consumers we hope to reach with Walden Family Theater are the same families whose everyday lives our products can help improve.”

Building brand promises

Walden Media has been in the movie business for the past decade. During that time, five Walden Media films topped $100 million at the domestic box office: each of the three “Chronicles of Narnia” films as well as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and its 2012 sequel, “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.”

Flaherty said Walden Media averages between one and four major theatrical releases per year. Although Walden will continue its current trajectory in terms of producing those bigger-budget films, the company aims to disseminate its brand promise — something Flaherty succinctly defined as, “We make things that entertain and educate” — via Walden Family Theater.

“One of the things we’ve always wanted to do here is build a brand, and it’s really hard to build a brand without a reliable and predictable stream of content,” Flaherty said. “For probably the last five years we’ve been trying to figure out a way to get on television so we can have a more reliable stream of content that families would love. …

“It’s all in the cumulative. We would like to look back at the end of the year and know that we’ve reached between 15 and 20 million people over the course of all those different Fridays.”

Last year Hallmark Channel and its sister station, Hallmark Movie Channel, combined to produce 36 made-for-TV movies. In that sense, Walden Family Theater fits nicely with Hallmark’s programming strategy and the new tagline it adopted six months ago, “The Heart of TV.”

“Certainly we’ll do an analysis with how we’re doing with (Walden Family Theater) and those titles, versus what typically we would do with other titles that are family-friendly but maybe not as young-skewing as the movies that we’re producing with Walden,” Abbott said. “At the end of the day, it is a ratings-driven business and … having high-quality content is important. For us, measuring success is really a combination of those two things.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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