Discovery Creates New Unit

Jul 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Discovery Communications has folded its health assets into a new business unit that also includes a health-centric video-on-demand service that will launch this fall. The media company plans to make the announcement Wednesday at the CTAM Summit.

The new business unit, called Discovery Health Media Enterprises, includes existing networks Discovery Health Channel and FitTV, Discoveryhealth.com, the Continuing Medical Education business and a new stand-alone VOD service, dubbed “Discovery Health On-Call.”

Discovery expects the new VOD service to launch with its existing distribution partners, which include most major cable operators. Discovery Health On-Call will include 10 to 20 hours of short informational segments on health topics such as wellness, pregnancy, parenting and surgery.

“Strategically, we decided this is a perfect point to pull them all together and sell new opportunities in new platforms or businesses to create and extend the Discovery Health brand further into consumers’ eyes,” said Eileen O’Neill, executive VP and general manager for Discovery Health Channel and FitTV.

Discovery is conducting a search for a new leader for the business unit and is looking for someone with health care sector experience. Ms. O’Neill will report to that person.

The new VOD service will be in addition to Discovery’s existing VOD business, which includes on-demand versions of hit shows from its networks. “Health is a great utilitarian area,” said Clint Stinchcomb, senior VP of new media for Discovery. “It’s not going to compete with ‘Entourage’ in downloadable views, but what it has the power to do is provide the useful and life-enhancing and life-saving information that will make people’s lives better,” he said.

In addition, Discovery plans to shore up its Discoveryhealth.com Web site with additional video clips to support the new VOD service.

In June, independent VOD network HealthiNation, which also provides health-related videos, launched on Insight.