RealTime IT News

WebMD Getting Healthier?

WebMD Corp. finally made good on its year-old strategic alliance with America Online Inc. as the two teamed for the launch of a new AOL Health Channel featuring WebMD's healthcare content, tools and educational services.

When last we heard from the struggling Elmwood Park, N.J.-based WebMD, the company was busy acquiring the portal assets of MedicaLogic/Medscape Inc. for $10 million in cash after suffering through a management shakeup and some serious layoffs.

But there were smiles today as the new health channel, found at AOL Keyword: Health, makes good on the deal announced last year with Dulles, Va.-based AOL, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. .

"The new AOL Health Channel with WebMD provides our members with the best content, products and community in an area important to them, all wrapped in AOL's user-friendly and convenient package,'' said Donn Davis, president of AOL's Vertical Markets Group.

"In addition, we believe we have developed new compelling opportunities for advertisers and partners to connect with this audience,'' Davis said. Financial arrangements between the companies have not been disclosed, but the deal is sure to help WebMD, which has never turned a profit.

AOL and WebMD said they will be joining forces to offer advertising, e-commerce and programming solutions for pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer packaged goods companies via the channel.

New content areas in the channel include Clinical Trials and Mental Health, along with more robust Condition Centers, offering information on various diseases and conditions.

For the fourth quarter of last year, WebMD reported a loss excluding restructuring and related one-time items of $6.4 million or 2 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate by a penny. First quarter 2002 earnings are due out May 7.