Ion Media (formerly Paxson) says it plans to launch a digital health network late this year. Earlier this month, the station group/network announced plans for an educational kids network.
Ion Media Networks said today it would launch a 24-hour digital broadcast network dedicated to healthcare and healthy living over its own TV stations late this year. The working title: I-Health.
Ion said it expects “full rollout” with additional distribution and content partners in 2007.
Ion is capable of launching national networks on its own TV broadcasting platform. Its 54 digital-ready TV stations reach 69 million of the nation’s 110 million TV homes. Satellite and cable distribution increase Ion’s reach to 91 million homes.
Ion Media was Paxson Communications. Brandon Burgess took over the struggling company as CEO last fall and put the company on firmer financial footing. He is now pursuing a strategy of using Ion stations to launch four or five digital broadcast networks. Earlier this month, the company announced plans for an educational children’s network involving NBC Universal and other partners.
The mission of I-Health will be to provide credible, accurate and life-enhancing information, helping consumers across all age groups, geographies, and income levels make informed health decisions on lifestyle, prevention, treatment and post-treatment, Ion said.
“Through extensive research, we confirmed that consumers want trusted healthcare information on television, but no channel today satisfies this important need,” said Burgess. “The data shows exponential healthcare demand in the coming years, and we want to be the first to offer a dedicated consumer-centric broadcast channel.
“Digital broadcast multicast technology allows us to launch such a public interest network and advance the digital TV transition by offering this value-added sponsored service at no cost to consumers,” he said.
ION will debut I-Health with a lineup drawn from what it calls some of the leading providers of healthcare programming, including the Information Television Network, which produces such shows as Cutting Edge Medical Report, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind and Growing Up Hispanic; Aquarius Health Care Media, which has a library of programs covering a broad range of categories, including aging, caregiving, disease and healing, disabilities, end of life issues, children and teen issues, mental health and women’s health; and Breakthrough Entertainment, a producer of medical reality programming with signature series, Patient Files and Little Miracles, focusing on the personal stories of people facing chronic conditions.
The network will also feature short-form news segments and Web-based content on chronic illness, family health issues and the latest medical technologies and breakthroughs. Rounding out the schedule will be a variety of health-oriented programs focusing on topics such as exercise, wellness, medical procedures and alternative health.
To ensure the ongoing medical integrity of the network, Ion will establish an advisory board of medical experts and health professionals who will provide guidance on content selection and advertising guidelines.