Coincidental with the House of Representatives’ passage of the health care reform bill this weekend, ABCNews.com unveiled a new content and advertising partnership with Healthline Networks. The move comes as ABC (NYSE: DIS) News is in the process of cutting its workforce and exploring ways to charge consumers for its content. In an interview with paidContent, West Shell III, Healthline’s chairman and CEO, said that his company will supply content to an expanded health news channel at ABCNEWS.com/Health and will power real-time, contextual ads for the news site’s unsold inventory.
Shell insisted that that this deal will provide higher CPMs for ABCNews.com’s remnant inventory compared to what more general ad networks can offer. “Because of the contextual nature of the ads we provide, we can boost the ad prices they would normally get for unsold inventory by 10 or 20 times, depending on the content,” Shell said.
Healthline has struck a several content and ad deals over the past two years, most notably with AOL (NYSE: AOL). The San Francisco company, which debuted in 1999 as YourDoctor.com and rebranded as Healthline six years later, is backed by General Electric’ Peacock Fund, which is closely associated by ABC rival NBC Universal (NYSE: GE). In May ’08, Healthline was one of the three primary forces behind the formation of NBCU’s Digital Health Network.