NBC Expands in Online Health Niche

NEW YORK NBC has added a half-dozen new distribution partners to its recently formed NBC Digital Health Network while also launching a new stand-alone consumer Web site — Healthvideo.com.

Announced in May, NBC Digital Health Network distributes health-related video content to partner Web sites, video-on-demand services and place-based digital platforms. Since launching, the network has ballooned from three to 15 syndication outlets, including the newly announced partners the American Cancer Society, the science and health-related Web site redOrbit.com and the community site Wellsphere.

DHN’s content includes a mix of clips focused on specific conditions like diabetes and back pain, as well as health-related stories culled from NBC and its affiliates, such as a recent segment produced by WNBC in New York featuring the actress Julianne Moore providing tips on shopping for natural/green products. According to DHN general manager Mitzi Reaugh, NBC gathers licensing fees from and sells advertising for most of its health network partners.

But now, beyond its growing distribution, NBC has quietly rolled out a healthy video-centric site to serve as hub for the network — much in the same way that Hulu.com serves as the centerpiece of a vast content distribution system. Healthvideo.com currently houses 1,600 clips, with roughly 50 being added each day, said Reaugh. The new, likely female-skewing site features banner and pre-roll ads from the likes of Splenda, Imodium, Schick Intuition Plus and Blackberry Pink.

Reaugh said that NBC is capitalizing on surging interest in the category, particularly for video. “There is a big demand from consumers for health information and also from advertisers,” she said. “Health and wellness is such a key area on the Web. Demand is stronger that ever … the video market to date has been so focused on entertainment. That is the momentum we’re trying to capture.”

Still, the site faces an active, ever-crowding media environment. Besides the long-established WebMD.com and the fast-growing Everyday Health Network, About.com has added more health video in recent years, while IAC recently acquired a stake in the expanding HealthCentral Network.