HRTS Member Profile: Michelle Vicary
Michelle Vicary is Executive Vice President of programming for Crown Media Family Networks, home of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. I recently had a chance to interview Michelle to discuss music, branding and DVRs.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to work in entertainment? How did you first get involved with the HRTS?
-I began working in the independent music industry, but always wanted to work in television. I have always loved being a part of a creative community that brings entertainment into people’s lives.
My HRTS involvement through Crown Media Family Networks began several years ago, and I look to HRTS to introduce me to ideas and forward thinking with the biggest creators of content and the business in a unique platform.
Q: Who are your main competitors and how is your programming/brand different from them?
-it’s really an exciting time to be in cable television. Because of our business models, some of the most creative content is being developed in cable. Although we look to most all cable networks as our competition, we really are in a unique position, as we are part of one of the most beloved brands in the world. Over 100 years as part of the American public consciousness, the Hallmark brand does two things – it elicits a strong emotional connection in people’s lives, and it represents an experience that is trusted, high quality, family friendly and really drives all of our programming decisions. Because of that, both Hallmark and Hallmark Movie Channel have a unique position in the television landscape.
Q: What is your #1 original movie of the past year and what made it a hit?
-our #1 Original movie to date in 2012 is Matchmaker Santa. It was a hit with our audience because it delivered on our program promise to viewers of a true holiday destination with a movie that has Christmas at its heart, a terrific story about the people finding each other and true love, with a little help from a man in the red suit!
Q: How do you pick your movie projects?
-that’s easy – the brand drives all of our program decisions. We look for a great story that delivers an emotional connection with the characters and the audience, that is high quality, family friendly, and delivers on the expectations the viewers have of watching a movie made just for Hallmark.
Q: In your time at Hallmark, what are some of the ways in which the industry has changed?
-the two biggest changes are 1) the DVR has become a preferred method for television viewing, and once a viewer has that capability it’s difficult to watch television without it, and 2) that people now have more options for how they view content, whether on a traditional television, a mobile phone or online. The good news is that viewers are as enthusiastic about great content as ever, and Hallmark is in the business of developing the types of programs that people will find a way to watch.