Layer3 adds Hallmark channels, continues to embrace niche networks in a skinny bundle era

Image: Layer3 TV

As most traditional pay-TV operators are looking for ways to send their installation vans and indie niche channels south, startup cable service Layer3 TV continues sending its fancy BMWs in the opposite direction.

The Denver-based startup announced today that it signed a program licensing deal with Crown Media, adding Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to its customers’ program guides. 

Hallmark Channel is distributed in 90 million U.S. homes, according to Nielsen. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is in around 70 million. 

However, after launching several pilot services in Texas and Illinois, unfurling officially in Washington, D.C., last year, Layer3 TV is charging ahead with a full-bundle service aimed at less price-conscious customers, who don’t want to ditch the big bundle but don’t necessarily want the service baggage that comes with traditional pay-TV.

Early on, Layer3 branded itself as upscale and different by leasing BMWs and Teslas as installation vehicles. The company’s standard package is available primarily in HD and includes about 150 channels for $79 a month. 

RELATED: Layer3 TV targeting premium market, calls itself ‘concierge cable’

“Layer3 TV is dedicated to bringing customers a premium service and will always be adding content, features and experiences to achieve that end,” said Layer3 Chief Content Officer Lindsay Gardner, in a statement. 

Earlier this week, the Washington Post profiled the cable service as it readies to expand beyond D.C. and go national over the next two years. 

“We're the first cable company in … 10 years to come that's brand new,” Layer3 CEO Jeff Binder told the paper. “Consumers haven't had a young innovative company to provide [pay-TV] services to them since the mid-1990s, when Dish and DirectTV came on the scene.”