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AMA/CNBC’s MEDICAL TV PROGRAMMING: PHYSICIAN AND CONSUMER FIVE-HOUR BLOCKS

Executive Summary

AMA/CNBC's MEDICAL TV PROGRAMMING: PHYSICIAN AND CONSUMER FIVE-HOUR BLOCKS will air beginning Feb. 29 under a partnership between the American Medical Association and the CNBC cable network announced Jan. 15. The programs will provide physician- oriented programs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays followed by consumer-directed medical programs for the next two hours. The same five-hour block will be repeated from 10-3 on Sundays. CNBC broadcasts to 45 mil. cable subscribers in North America. Another partner in the CNBC deal is Art Ulene, MD, who currently hosts AMA's consumer-oriented show "Living Well America" and previously provided medical reports to NBC's "Today Show" and ABC's "Home Show". The fourth partner is Orbis Broadcast Group, a Chicago-based production company focusing on medical programs. The venture with CNBC will replace AMA's current arrangement with the Discovery cable channel for three hours weekly of both professional and consumer medical programming. AMA plans to continue the same programming and advertising policies it has used on the Discovery channel to ensure that the broadcasts meet the standards of FDA and other groups for industry promotional activities and clinical presentations. For example, no direct-to-consumer ads of prescription products are permitted. The physician-oriented shows, many of which qualify for continuing medical education credits, will be maintained as an isolated block of consecutive programs. They will be preceded by a disclaimer that they are intended for medical professionals. Pharmaceutical ads will be accompanied by a visual and audio scroll providing the "brief summary" of labeling plus an "800" number to telephone for additional information. AMA's programming on the Discovery channel included advertising by more than 30 pharmaceutical, medical device and medical product packaging companies. AMA cited two reasons for its switch to the CNBC network -- a desire to expand the number of broadcast hours and an interest to add more news-oriented programming. CNBC provides primarily news broadcasts with a focus on business and financial issues. For the physician program block, for example, AMA is developing a show entitled "Direct from the Hill" that will provide news on federal regulatory and legislative activities. AMA plans to invite officials from FDA and other agencies to appear on the show to provide updates on agency policies -- similar to the Journal of the American Medical Association articles reviewing agency activities that FDA officials now author but broadcast on a more timely basis. Many of AMA's current programs on Discovery -- such as "Medical Rounds," "Journal Scan," and "AMA Video Clinic" -- will be continued on CNBC.

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