MSN and WebMD's Internet information unit, WebMD Health, are
ending their five-year business relationship under which WebMD provided content to the MSN.com's Health Channel. MSN expects to
launch a new health content service as of Jan. 1.
It has about 4.5 million unique visitors per month to the MSN health
site. WebMD Health draws about 21 million unique users per month,
including those directed to the site via MSN.
"As part of our strategy we are no longer going to provide content to
MSN after Jan. 1, 2005," said Wayne Gattinella, president of WebMD
Health. "It has been a great partnership, but our goals are different. Our quality of user is different going forward
than it was in past." WebMD Health, which includes the online medical education unit Medscape, accounted for roughly 12
percent of WebMD's third-quarter revenue of $300 million. WebMD
also plans an initial public offering of WebMD Health in early 2005,
according to the company.
As of mid-November, the plans for the MSN health channel were still in the works. A spokeswoman said MSN had been pleased with its
WebMD relationship, but would carry its content only through the
end of 2004.