INTERNET;HEALTH FEVER HITS THE WEB;AOL AND TIME INC. ARE THE LATEST TO JOIN THE HOT TREND

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The health and fitness bug is spreading rapidly on the Web.

This week, America Online and Time Inc.'s Pathfinder (http://www.pathfinder.com) give birth to Thrive, a 50-50 joint venture accessible from both AOL and Pathfinder.

The venture, with sections on health, fitness, food and sex, has as sponsors Ford Motor Co., Seven-Up Co. and Apple Computer. Thrive ad rates are $38,000 per quarter, the same as Pathfinder's.

AOL and Pathfinder will both sell the cross-platform service.

AT&T TESTS SITE

Meanwhile, AT&T's Personal Online Services division began testing its health site (http://www.atthealthsite.com) over the weekend with American Home Products Corp. as a charter advertiser.

"This beta is a test," said site General Manager Tracy Leeds. "We'll let the test tell us the exact launch date."

Registration is required at AT&T's site, which targets surfers ages 35 to 54. Content comes from previously announced deals with IVI Publishing, Rodale Press and Medilife, marketer of health management software.

UNIVERSITY EXPERTISE

Johns Hopkins University and U.S. Healthcare, meanwhile, last week announced a $25 million consumer multimedia health service called InteliHealth (http://www.intelihealth.com), which goes live Oct. 1 with personalized health news, pollen maps, health tips and a doctor question/answer service.

Until the launch, InteliHealth will team with Panasonic to deliver a daily health newsfeed to consumers via pagers. In August it rolls out a series of health-themed catalogs mailed to 500,000 consumers. The first issue focuses on allergies; pediatrics and geriatrics will be subsequent topics.

The site will run limited advertising at launch, but its main revenue source will be content distribution deals with marketers and media.

HEALTH INFO WANTED

"There's a great demand for medical-health information, but the ability to distribute it broadly is our plan," said InteliHealth CEO Tom Durovsik.

Reuters, meanwhile, this week adds a layer of consumer content to its free medical site (http://www.reutershealth.com) as part of a redesign from i33 Communications, New York.

The site will add consumer advertising in the fourth quarter, along with a premium content layer priced under $10 per month, said Dr. C. Anthony Jones, director of online services for Reuters' Health Information Services.

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