Spot cable shop woos pharma advertisers with VOD channel

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A spot cable agency is targeting pharmas with a new video-on-demand (VOD) channel launching this fall that allows patients and physicians to access drug information, coupons and long-form messaging from advertisers.

The My Life on Demand channel, announced by National Cable Communications (NCC) in June, will reach up to 30 million digital cable homes, said Andrew Capone, SVP, marketing and business development at NCC. Advantages of the VOD platform, he said, include micro-targeting consumers at the behavioral level, as well as the ability to reach small population segments inside any geographic area.  

“Even if you want to reach select counties with clinical test trial recruitment or test sample values in the footprint of a pharmacy group, medical practice or hospital network, targeted cable can pinpoint those consumers with measurable results,” says Capone. “Pharmaceutical companies can use it to provide clinical information and sponsor educational content to address ethical or safety concerns.”

Using a digital television remote, consumers viewing My Life on Demand will be able to request coupons and catalogs, and even locate sales reps in the area, according to Charlie Thurston, president of Comcast Spotlight.  Capone said GlaxoSmithKline has already road-tested interactive cable for Nicorette through Cox Media in Tucson, AZ. Consumers opted in via digital remote, and were sent a coupon.  The response rate easily topped average click rates on the Internet, and the test provided qualified leads and great feedback, said Capone.  

Deborah Dick-Rath, former executive director of global advertising for Novartis, said long-form advertising on the new channel will still have fair and balanced messages, but they'll be more palatable for consumers.

My Life on Demand will deliver “comprehensive information ranging from disease states and medical conditions, to health services, alternative procedures, fitness and nutrition into the homes of American consumers,” according to Capone.  

The channel – free to digital television subscribers – was launched at a luncheon in New York City.  A panel of guests – including Dick-Rath and Thurston – was mediated by CNBC reporter Bertha Coombs.  Jay Bolling, president of Roska Healthcare Advertising, was also on the panel. 
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