PHYSICIAN’s TELEVISION NETWORK PLANS SEPTEMBER 1994 LAUNCH
PHYSICIAN's TELEVISION NETWORK PLANS SEPTEMBER 1994 LAUNCH for its satellite-delivered channel for doctors. Programming on the network will be centered on medical news and accredited continuing medical education programs, the Physician's Television Network said. PTN is a division of Visual Information Systems, a privately held medical video publishing company based in Secaucus, N.J. PTN expects to receive 95% of its revenues from advertising by pharmaceutical companies on the network. To date, the network has one signed advertiser, a pharmaceutical firm. PTN plans to "loan" the Digital Satellite System (DSS) components needed to access the network -- a decoder box, a remote control and an 18-inch satellite dish -- to about 100,000 primary care physicians, 1,000 hospitals and 250 HMOs and insurance providers. Participants are expected to be signed up in March. PTN planned programming includes morning and evening news programs that will deliver medical news as well as national and international news updates; a live call-in talk show featuring health care authorities; medical business news; and CME programming. Shows will give physicians the opportunity to interact using the remote control: for instance, they may answer questions and enter a personal identification number for credit on accredited CME programming, or be polled during a talk show, PTN explained. The network is forming a "blue ribbon" panel of physicians to determine the details of the programming. Two strategic partners will help promote the network, PTN said: Cliggott Publishing and Emeron, Inc. Liberty Corner, N.J.- based Emeron, a managed care communications and consulting firm, will also give input on managed care programming. Cliggott Publishing, based in Greenwich, Conn., is a publisher of medical journals and will provide all printed material, including program guides, for PTN. PTN will be distributed by DirecTv, a direct broadcasting service division of General Motors subsidiary GM Hughes Electronics. A satellite carrying DirecTv frequencies is scheduled to launch Dec. 20; a second satellite, which carries DirecTv frequencies including the one allocated to PTN, is targeted for a July 1994 launch. Through DirecTv, physicians would be able to access other channels with offerings such as cable programming or movies on 50-60 channels, on a pay-per-view or monthly subscription basis. RCA will sell the DSS components and, according to PTN, anticipates interest from other health care professionals such as pharmacists and dentists. PTN plans to have a sales force of about 10 by early next year to promote the network. The DSS will be set up so that only "authorized physicians and health care professionals" can access PTN. Another emerging venture targeted specifically to physicians is Pyramed Networks, the Physician's Interactive Network, scheduled to run on a pilot basis from the first quarter 1994 through April. Pyramed currently seems to have more emphasis than PTN on information retrieval, including elements such as CD-ROM ("The Pink Sheet" July 26, T&G- 13). Other ventures, such as American Medical Television programming and the planned "The Health Channel," are directed at a more general audience ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 30, T&G-4, T&G-5).
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