MSN To add a dark horse into this race, MSN unveiled health condition channels that are independent from WebMD. In the past,
all health content that was housed on MSN was provided by WebMD and offered for distribution when advertisers purchased programs
with WebMD. This meant MSN could not sell its own health content effectively, as WebMD owned most of the health buys. (WebMD
continues to partner with AOL for distribution, which allows AOL to feature WebMD's syndicated content but not its own health
content or advertisers.)
In the coming year, both Yahoo! and MSN are poised to take on WebMD with their tremendous reach, targeting capabilities, relatively
easy and direct ad-server and agency synergies, and relevant content. WebMD, in turn, has announced new distribution partners—
http://FOXnews.com/. to start—in hopes that they will more than fill the enormous gap in distribution left by MSN's departure, while further
More competitors mean advertisers will have more leverage in negotiating deals with WebMD. For WebMD, this marketplace shift
may result in demands for lower CPMs than it has enjoyed in the past.
The race among health information portals also may result in more and better content offerings for consumers. That means advertisers
that move first can buy out targeted inventory within desired conditions at a good rate.
On the downside, the glut of available content across many sites may fragment target audiences, just as the explosion of cable
channels has fragmented TV audiences. For that reason, it's more important than ever to have experienced media planners who
know how and when to buy out sites that can deliver desired scale and targetability.
For portals, that means stiffer competition that may lead to more deal-sweeteners for advertisers, including:
» Exclusivity within disease-specific categories (ranging from a quarter to a year)
» Robust back-end data/reporting that includes cost per educated visitor, intent to visit the doctor, and brand-lift
» Reasonable out-clauses allowing clients to cancel underperforming commitments or to cease advertising in case of FDA
» Visitor and/or traffic guarantees
» Rich media acceptance
The market moves quickly, so pharma must be ready to jump into the online health content boom. Agile companies will pick up
additional inventory or preferred pricing by leveraging various partners against one another or taking advantage of first-mover
Debrianna Obara is media director ofAvenue A/Razorfish.She can be reached at
People Online marketers, Cadient Group hired Alex Vandevere and Geoff McCleary as senior marketing strategists. Bryan Hill was promoted to senior director of global technology.
Accounts United BioSource selected DataLabs as its partner in electronic data capture technology. Prairie Education and Research Cooperative also chose DataLabs to provide
the company with electronic clinical data management technology. » Epsilon, part of Alliance Data Systems, created a comprehensive customer database for Pfizer. » ChartConnect, DOCS, LighthouseMD, McKesson, Mednet System and NewCrop became SureScripts Certified Solution Providers. » LifeTree eClinical partnered with Novotech.