Comcast Gives HealthiNation Shot In The Arm

HealthiNation has inked a distribution deal with Comcast that should more than triple the number of TV viewers with access to its health-oriented video-on-demand content.

Comcast began offering HealthiNation fare Feb. 4, to about 5 million subscribers in six markets -- Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Seattle. The operator plans to distribute the VOD content in all markets by May, representing a total of 14.7 million digital-cable customers.

With the current Comcast deployments, HealthiNation is now available to about 11 million cable subscribers. The New York-based company has deals with Cox Communications,Charter Communications,  BrightHouse Networks, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, Bresnan Communications and Verizon’s FiOS TV.

All told, HealthiNation will reach about 20 million VOD homes by midyear, which CEO Raj Amin said will put it in a better position to strike national sponsorship deals.

“When you’re under 10 million homes, you’re just too small for national advertisers,” he said.

HealthiNation provides three hours of fresh VOD programming per month, on topics ranging from asthma to weight loss. It also has deals with Yahoo and other Internet sites to distribute its video content.

On Comcast systems, HealthiNation will be available on the operator’s ad-supported Searchlight on-demand destination. HealthiNation provides avails to its distribution partners and sells category sponsorships on a national level.

To make his case about why health programming is best suited for a VOD environment, Amin points to Discovery Communications’ deal with Oprah Winfrey to rebrand Discovery Health into a lifestyle network called OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

“Health is not an audience-aggregation category -- it’s an information category,” Amin said. “That makes it a one-to-one vehicle.”

According to Amin, people who view HeathiNation titles watch them to completion 85% of the time.

He wouldn’t disclose views per month but said between 0.5% and 1.5% of available viewers tune into its service on a monthly basis, and he claimed HealthiNation is increasing viewership roughly 10% per month.

HealthiNation, which Amin said has “just under” 20 employees, has raised $4.5 million in funding to date from venture capital firm MK Capital and private investors, including Paul Kagan. The company was founded in April 2005.