Since its debut last July, The Health Network has been fortifying its position through strategic deals. Most recently, the U.S. cablecaster has partnered with New Jersey’s Newsweek Productions to generate health news programs. Although the Newsweek brand is often associated with its magazine, the company has ventured into television production in recent years.
For Marc Krigsman, The Health Network’s senior VP of programming and production, it was Newsweek’s experience and reputation that sold him on the idea of a copro arrangement. ‘Newsweek is an incredibly credible news resource,’ he says. ‘When you look at the different publications that are out there, Newsweek centers on health information more than the other magazines, at least from our analysis. They do regular health supplements, and that was really important to us.’
Their first joint undertaking is a weekly half-hour program called Health Point, which premiered earlier this month. Budgeted at over US$2 million, the series is being helmed by Newsweek staffer Robert Davis, though Krigsman says the show is a collaborative effort. ‘We’re utilizing the Newsweek production group to do the above-the-line creative, while also using a lot of our production facilities . . . It’s a true 50/50 venture.’ Other programs on the books are 6 x 60-minute Health Point specials, and a 26 x 30-minute series, Medical Milestones.
The Newsweek partnership is not the first time The Health Network has coupled with a publishing entity. Last November, the cablecaster cut a deal with medical magazine Prevention to create a series which will share the same name as the publication. Set to launch in May, the half-hour weekly program will differ from the Newsweek shows. Says Krigsman, ‘Where Newsweek will be productions of a more historical nature and more of a news type format, our Prevention [series] is more news-you-can-use type of stuff.’ The series will be commissioned to an outside prodco, and Krigsman says they are still looking.
The Health Network is also making a move on the internet front. According to Krigsman, the cablecaster’s companion website will merge with WebMD.com, an established healthcare info site maintained by Atlanta-based company WebMD, by early second quarter.