MEDIA: Health TV show unveiled

A nightly news service aimed at healthcare PROs is to be launched by digital and cable broadcaster Channel Health next year.

Channel Health Professional will air five nights a week from 9pm to 10pm on Sky digital.Simon Whiten, the channel's account director, told PRWeek: 'This is for anything even remotely related to health, from product stories to charities talking about diseases or therapeutic areas. We will range from beauty products to serious pharmaceutical drugs.'

Channel Health's editorial team will film press events, product launches and conferences for pharmaceutical PR agencies and healthcare organisations.Stories involving drug giant Astra Zeneca and vitamins and mineral supplements firm Health Perception have been filmed to date.

Whiten said: 'The idea is that this will help PR professionals do their jobs. It is a good way of getting extra publicity.'

Channel Health's editorial producer Claire Walsh is to oversee coverage of product launches, along with producers Phin Twisleton and Elwyn Evans, formerly of the BBC.

As well as providing professional updates, the information will also be used in consumer-oriented stories, which will be broadcast at different programmes in the channel's 20-hour daily schedule. Channel Health Direct, a custom-edited version of the channel's output, is currently shown in more than 1,500 GP reception areas nationwide.

Whiten added: 'This is aimed at supporting our consumer services by keeping the healthcare professional on top of the latest healthcare sector developments.

'We've been working with pharmaceutical companies to increase both consumer and professional awareness of disease areas and the brands for treatment.

We've also been dealing with manufacturers of health and beauty products and complementary medicines to increase sales and recognition of their products.'

A pilot is to be launched next month, with the new programming expected before June 2003. Channel Health is owned by Healthtrack Media.

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