Health publisher MediZine expands database marketing opps with acquisition

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MediZine LLC, the producer of print and online health education content, has acquired the Web portal HealthCommunities.com Inc. as part of its audience growth strategy.

HealthCommunities features physician Web sites and educational content on health for consumers. The portal also hosts 30 different patient communities, reaching more than 1.5 million monthly visitors and more than 2,300 practicing physicians — an audience that MediZine executives see as a perfect target for its own editorial products, partners and advertisers.

“Our clients are interested in that integrated model [of print and Web], and we're finding that consumers are more than ever interested in having a variety of channels to communicate with,” explained Traver Hutchins, CEO of Medizine. “We do a strong subscription business and a ton of direct business both in print and interactive, and HealthCommunities was the perfect next step because of the organic traffic of consumers coming to these sites for more information. It's the ideal time to impact them with additional educational marketing opportunities — both from sponsors and our privately held subscription businesses.”

Hutchins said he hopes to capitalize on HealthCommunities 30 different health channels to create vertical sales opportunities. He also sees the potential to bump MediZine's overall Web traffic to a spot on the Nielsen top 20 in the health category.

“That again will drive more sponsorship momentum, which in turn builds our database, which in turn drives our direct business and circulation efforts,” he said.

Building that database is key for MediZine: Hutchins said that well over 50% of the company's business comes from database and direct marketing, including subscriptions and sponsor programs.

HealthCommunities, which before the acquisition was one of the top independent consumer health sites, will retain its brand and employees.

MediZine's most recent acquisition before HealthCommunities was University Health Publishing in July 2008. The company, which publishes the 3.45 million-circulation Healthy Living, is now looking to invest more in the online and interactive space and plans to continue growing organically and through acquisition. New media, like social and mobile, may be next on the list.

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