Accent Health lumbers into Context Media's sandbox

May 30, 2011 by Dave Haynes

When Accent Health announced last week it was adding a range of new “condition-specific networks” I was scrambling to get a pile of things done and fly out west to see family in Winnipeg. I kinda expected someone would pick up on the interesting little nuance of that announcement, but …

The nine new networks, the announcement read,  focus on: Diabetes Health, Heart Health, Men’s Health, Mental Health, Senior Women’s Health, Rheumatology, Allergies, Asthma, and GERD in addition to AccentHealth’s four current networks.

Digitally delivered content will now address the specific education needs of patients, designed to provide preventative health messages and to enhance the dialog they are just about to have with their physicians.

“The digital age allows us to refine health messaging, directing specific information to only the most relevant patients, providing the information they want, when and where they are eager to learn and can discuss it with their physicians,” said Daniel A. Stone, CEO, AccentHealth.

Original programming for the condition-specific networks is produced monthly and focuses on topics such as: Diabetes Living, Heart Matters, and Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. AccentHealth has received many awards for quality health education programming including the National Health Information Awards program, Cindy and Telly awards, and has been honored by the American Academy of Nursing and the Society of Professional Journalists.

“As physicians we must enlist patients in their own health care. The better educated and more comfortable patients are with various health topics, the more likely they are to have a productive conversation with their physician about new information, potential courses of treatment and preventative care,” said Philip Adler M.D., F.A.A.P., Chairman of the AccentHealth Medical Advisory Board.

Here’s the nuance:

Diabetes and, more recently, Rheumatology are the specific conditions that Chicago-based Context Media has built up networks around – and very successfully.  I often write and talk about the strong merits of narrowing the programming and therefore the sales focus of a network, and Context is in the admirable position of building up subject matter-based audiences that have the persistent interest of a handful of major drugmakers.

I’m sure the Context guys cast a wider net for advertisers, but really the companies who want them are a small, hyper-competitive group of pharmas that have very deep pockets.

Accent declaring itself in these verticals would be a major eyebrow-archer at Context, given that the Chicago company has hundreds of clinics while Tampa-based Accent has more than 12,000. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but the site development business just got a little harder for Context, I’d guess.

That stated, they’re also very smart, passionate people and the David-Goliath thing could easily apply.

An interesting side note: both companies – unless I missed news – are on BroadSign’s platform.

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