NBCU Repurposes Health Video for New Digital Network

Health and wellness stories are a staple of television and NBC has the archived segments to prove it. Now, NBC Universal Digital Media is forming an online network that makes those video clips available to Web publishers.

Beginning next month, content on the new NBC Digital Health Network will be distributed by three existing Web sites: Healthline Networks, Your Total Health, and RightHealth. Users of the three health-focused sites will be given access to health care videos produced by NBC News, NBC local media and Healthology.com.

Combined, the three health-related sites draw about 27 million unique monthly viewers, according to the company. “We obviously see every major health site as a potential distribution partner,” said NBC Universal’s chief digital officer, George Kliavkoff.

He said distribution partners will be able to license the content from NBC and keep all ad revenue. Alternatively, NBC will sell the ads and share a cut. A third option would be for the publishers to sell ads and pass along to NBC some of the revenue.

Kliavkoff said the deal exemplifies the company’s mission to build niche digital networks using both existing and specially-created video content.

In a statement announcing the new network, Kliavkoff indicated NBC Universal Digital will continue to look at vertical categories “that have a passionate user base and also happen to fit the criteria of a top advertising category that we think is underserved by professional quality video on digital platforms.”

Mitzi Reaugh was named general manager of the new network. She joined NBC Universal Digital Media two years ago after leaving McKinsey & Company and played a big part in the creation of Hulu.com, an online video site jointly operated by NBC Universal and News Corporation.

“We definitely believe in vertical ad networks, but we think this is distinguished from just the standard vertical ad network,” said Kliavkoff in an interview. “We have been launching a series of these digital vertical networks that are very focused on the distribution of video and, for us, that’s sort of the key of what we do very well throughout the company.”

He said the videos to be distributed in the new health network aired on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News or local NBC stations. He said the popularity of health-related TV segments means there will be “dozens and dozens of new videos produced every week” that will then be made available for online distribution.

Kliavkoff noted NBC Universal Digital launched an automotive-related digital network about six weeks ago and, prior to that, a pets-related network (in conjunction with Procter & Gamble). “The theme that runs through them all is focusing on the top-ten advertising categories we feel are underserved platforms for professionally-produced digital content.

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