Marketers hone in on health sites

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Targeting online health information seekers, Time Inc.'s Health division and new-media content provider Thrive will launch a new site, later this year.

The site will focus on conditions and chronic illnesses in eight areas, including asthma, depression, weight loss, diabetes, smoking cessation, menopause, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease.

Time and Thrive, a joint venture of America Online and Time Inc., plan to target sponsors in each specific condition area, specifically going after pharmaceutical and managed-care companies. No sponsors have been signed yet.

Asthma will be the first area developed, Thrive President Daniel Orum said. The venture hopes to have a sponsor by yearend, followed by others early in 1998.

Evan Neufeld, senior analyst at Jupiter Communications, said health information on the Web today falls into two categories: either lifestyle and general health-oriented sites or advertiser-written product home pages.


"The competition at this point would seem to be more traditional off-line reference tools like CD-ROMs and books than the lifestyle kind of health sites out there now," Mr. Neufeld said.

Several recent online ventures targeting health and well-being include PHYS, a women's health site launched in August by CondeNet and Procter & Gamble Co.; and Better Health & Medical, a new iVillage Web site launched two weeks ago. Better Health also has a content area on AOL. also will face competition from Web sites targeting specific diseases and conditions. One such site is, created by medical publisher NetHealth, with sponsorship by Sun Microsystems and a grant from Bayer Corp.


Each site will be custom published using Thrive and Time Inc. Health's content. The plan is to have one main sponsor per condition, with smaller advertising opportunities also built in.

The targeted audience for will include Time Inc.'s Health magazine audience of about 5 million consumers and its 125,000 physician subscribers of Hippocrates. Thrive, which is hosted by Time's Pathfinder, has about 1.4 million users and gets about 25 million page views per month.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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