Friday, June 08, 2007

WebMD, teams with CDC, ACOG for breast cancer e-CME

WebMD, teams with CDC, ACOG for breast cancer e-CME

WebMD has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate clinicians about appropriate care for women with early signs of breast cancer. In collaboration with WebMD's Medscape, the CDC has developed an online CME program consisting of five modules, which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) will promote to its more than 50,000 members. According to Steve Zatz, MD, executive vice president of professional services at WebMD, the program was developed to educate physicians about the latest evidence, protocols, and guidelines around detecting breast cancer. "The program is consistent with Medscape's mission of providing medical professionals with the highest quality information so that they can provide the best care to their patients," Zatz tells ePharm5.

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Epocrates survey: Docs often hesitant to diagnose depression

Epocrates survey: Docs often hesitant to diagnose depression

The vast majority of clinicians reported recommending prescription therapies for their patients with depression. However, more than half said they are hesitant to diagnose depression, mostly because of patient resistance and lack of societal acceptance. That's according to an Epocrates survey of 500 clinicians that aimed to shed light on clinical trends in depression diagnosis, prevalence, and treatment. The survey showed that most respondents reported an increase in depression in the past five years, possibly because of increased disease awareness. Clinicians also indicated that because symptoms may vary by gender and ethnicity, they often are uncertain about diagnosing depression. For example, 30% of respondents reported being less likely to discuss depression with men, and that it is often more difficult to treat men because they are less "open" than women.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Who's Watching Mobile Video? Comfy Middle-Aged Men

Who's Watching Mobile Video? Comfy Middle-Aged Men

Nielsen has compiled data on who in the US is watching video on their cellphones, according to NewTeeVee. The study unearthed a wealth of middle-aged men with high incomes.

Forty-six percent of the mobile video audience is 35 years old or older, and 54 percent of that population is male. More than 55 percent of users came from households making $75,000 or more.

8 million users aged 12 and older consumed video on mobile phones.

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Techies of Tomorrow Start Young: Electronics See Early Adoption

Techies of Tomorrow Start Young: Electronics See Early Adoption

The average age at which children begin using consumer electronic (CE) devices has declined from 8.1 years in 2005 to 6.7 years in 2007, according to NPD Group's recently released report, "Kids and Consumer Electronics Trends III," writes MarketingCharts.The report studies the penetration of consumer electronics in kids' lives and measures device-usage dynamics and trends.

Children begin using electronic devices at approximately 7 years of age on average, with televisions and desktop computers providing the youngest initial exposure (about 4 or 5 years of age), and satellite radios and portable digital media players (PDMP) providing the oldest (about 9 years of age), NPD Group said.

Some other findings from the study:

  • Since 2005, nearly all of the various electronic devices have registered a decline in average age at the time of initial use.
  • Kids use electronic devices an average of three days per week, with non-portable televisions (5.8 days), cell phones (4.3 days) and digital video recorders (4.1 days) registering the highest use.
  • The average number of consumer-electronics devices owned and used by kids is down slightly compared with the previous two years, as are the number of households that own those devices.
  • Nearly 25 percent of households surveyed claimed to have made no electronics purchases in the previous 12 months.

MarketingCharts provides additional data.

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MyLifeBrand Helps Hedge Unruly Social Networking Garden

MyLifeBrand Helps Hedge Unruly Social Networking Garden

For the keen networker with accounts on a number of Web 2.0 community sites, MyLifeBrand may be just the ticket, according to Better Communication Results.

Launched to the public in alpha mode, the service will put access to social networks such as LinkedIn, Bebo, Facebook, Orkut, MySpace and TagWorld all in the same place.

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Google Audio Ads Almost Accessible to All Advertisers

Google Audio Ads Almost Accessible to All Advertisers

 Google is about to open access to its Audio Ads product to all AdWords members, reports ClickZ.

The search/advertising giant has finally determined its Audio Ads product, which brings radio ads into the auction platform, to be ready for prime time. The switch will flip for AdSense members at the end of June.

Earlier this year Google signed a deal with Clear Channel, in which the media company made a percentage of its inventory available to the search giant. Radio stations also hope Google can help them get rid of "remnant" commercial time that would otherwise go unsold. These bench-warming slots can now be purchased by local businesses who may not have considered radio ads a possibility before.

The announcement suggests Google now has sufficient radio inventory to sell.
Google will also provide Audio Ads help guides and $400 credit good towards a radio campaign. Advertisers must use Google's Ad Creation Marketplace to qualify for the credit.

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Childhood Games of Pretend Get Even More Virtual

Childhood Games of Pretend Get Even More Virtual

Zwinky avatars for you to dress

A number of sites have popped up to virtually recreate the childhood pastime of playing with dolls, reports The New York Times.

Sites like Club Penguin, Webkinz and others enable children to connect with each other an the form of avatars that they can dress or otherwise modify. Some sites charge a fee for membership or access to premium features, like more outfit choices. Others are free via ad-support.

According to Hitwise, the number of visits to a set of seven of such worlds grew 68 percent in the 12 months ending April 28th. Gartner estimates kid-friendly virtual world sites have thus far attracted 20 million users. It also reports that the sites with the most appeal for the youngest kids are among the fastest-growing.

As with all media targeted at the young and impressionable, some worry about the users' exposure to marketing messages they may not recognize. There's also the worry about the site's ability to maintain a "safe" environment in a digital space where children are interacting with one another.

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Online Publishers Association Unveils First-of-its-Kind Online Video Advertising Effectiveness Study

Online Publishers Association Unveils First-of-its-Kind Online Video Advertising Effectiveness Study
- Report Provides New Insight into Effective Use of Online Video  Advertising, Including the Merits of 30 Sec. Ads, Companion Ads and More -      NEW YORK, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- With the continued rise in online video popularity, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) conducted a unique study looking at the key factors driving video advertising success. "Frames of Reference: Online Video Advertising, Content and Consumer Behavior" exposed consumers to video content and advertising, and captured the attributes that most impact awareness, ad likeability, ad relevance, and brand consideration.     "With online video firmly entrenched in the mainstream, marketers need to understand what works for driving key advertising metrics," said Pam Horan, OPA president. "Frames of Reference identifies the most important factors -- from ad length to the impact of adjacent content -- that can improve video advertising effectiveness. In the rapidly evolving world of video, the study is an important step in laying down concrete, high impact techniques for marketers."     Frames of Reference further examined how consumers are using online video and their reactions to advertising. Among the key findings are that news is the most popular online video category and that consumers are taking meaningful action in response to video ads. And with growing evidence of how heavily consumers rely on the Internet for researching and buying goods, the study also examined the relative importance of the Internet in the purchase process.     The research, which was conducted in partnership with OTX, included surveying and concept testing 1,422 online video users.     Ad Effectiveness     Using a variety of ads -- which featured everything from consumer packaged goods and financial services to airlines and pharmaceuticals -- and four ad attributes, 96 combinations were tested for how they impact key advertising and brand metrics. The four ad attributes were: duration (15 v. 30 sec.); placement (pre-roll and post-roll); companion ad (with/without); and, advertising type (original online v. repurposed TV).     Details on the impact of each of these attributes on online video advertising and brand metrics are included in the full report, however several of the key findings include:     -- 30s Top 15s.  In two of the four advertising and brand metrics        measured, ad length was the leading factor driving lift.  And with        each, 30 second ads outpaced 15s: ad relevance (30% lift using 30s) and        brand consideration (23% lift using 30s).     -- Quality Content Halo.  The study reinforced the notion of a "halo"        effect from website video content affinity.  If the consumer had a        prior brand affinity toward an advertised brand and they liked the        adjacent video content, brand consideration jumped 61%.  If the        consumer's initial attitude toward the brand was neutral or negative,        brand consideration still rose 21% if they liked the video content.     -- The Role of a Companion.  The study found that static companion ads can        play a valuable complimentary role.  To lift brand awareness the        combination of a pre-roll and a companion proved to be most effective.     Video Usage and Perceptions     The study looked at the most popular video content and, while humorous videos may appear to be omnipresent, Frames of Reference found that the leading video content category is news/current events (14% watch daily). Weather ranks second (11% watch daily), followed by jokes /funny clips (9% watch daily).     The study also found that online video advertising is leading to concrete results, especially on media sites. Of the 80% of viewers that have watched a video ad online, 52% have taken some sort of action, whether it's checking out a website (31%), searching for more info (22%), going into a store (15%), or actually making a purchase (12%). Importantly, visitors to media sites (magazine, newspaper, cable, broadcast and pure-play) demonstrated they were more inclined to take action upon viewing a video ad than visitors to portals and user generated content sites.     The Internet & The Purchase Process     The study looked at the purchase process, and the results underscored the dominant role of the Internet in every stage. Of consumers who made a purchase in the last month, 48% said the Internet drove initial awareness, 57% said they learned more using the Internet, 55% used the Internet to decide where to buy, and 56% made the final purchase decision using the Internet. Word of Mouth, which also has strong Web components, was second in importance -- however the Internet outpaced all others by at least 50%.     Horan said, "As consumers work their way through the purchase process, the Internet is far and away the most important media they use. With consumers buying everything from groceries to cars online, the Internet's importance may seem obvious. But it is truly stunning to see that the Internet is leading every other media by at least 50%."     Details of the Frames of Reference study are being presented on the OPA's annual, eight-city "Eyes on the Internet Tour," which begins in Atlanta on Wednesday June 6th. For more information or to register for the free event, visit Each presentation will be followed by a panel discussion among leading marketing, publishing and agency executives. A copy of the final report will be posted on the OPA website at the end of the Tour.     About the Online Publishers Association     Founded in June 2001, the Online Publishers Association is an industry trade organization whose mission is to advance the interests of high-quality online publishers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. Members of OPA represent the standards in Internet publishing with respect to editorial quality and integrity, credibility and accountability. OPA member sites have a combined, unduplicated reach of 128.2 million visitors, or 74% percent of the total U.S. Internet audience (Source: comScore Media Metrix, July 2006 combined home/work/university data). For more information, go to     
About OTX     OTX (Online Testing eXchange) is a global consumer research and consulting firm that has established itself as a leading provider of online-based research. The company specializes in providing innovative, cutting-edge online technology, products and analysis to the marketing, entertainment and advertising communities. OTX has developed the most innovative products available for online research today -- solutions that work to uncover deeper and more profound consumer insight. Today, OTX is one of the fastest growing research companies in the United States with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Cincinnati, Miami, Chicago and London, with strategic partners in Australia and China. 
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The HealthCentral Network Launches Site to Help Patients and Parents Manage ADHD

The HealthCentral Network Launches Site to Help Patients and Parents Manage ADHD

    ARLINGTON, Va., June 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( today announced the launch of, a new condition-specific web site dedicated to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Similar to The HealthCentral Network's (THCN) twenty-five other condition-specific sites, is devoted to connecting patients and families to trusted, focused medical information, management and caregiving plans, and the unique voice and experiences of people impacted by ADHD. is designed to help consumers FIND the information and resources they need, MANAGE day-to-day life, and CONNECT with those who are personally touched by the condition. The FIND section helps consumers understand ADHD, learn about drugs, and search for doctors and hospitals. The MANAGE section focuses on living with the condition -- from advice for parents to coping with diagnosis as an adult, experts guide users with action plans based on their experiences. CONNECT provides a safe environment for experts, patients and parents to share and learn from each other.     "Whether you have just been diagnosed or are caring for a child with ADHD, connecting with people who understand what you are going through is an invaluable resource," said Chris Schroeder, CEO and President of The HealthCentral Network. " is a destination for people to access the wisdom of the ADHD parent, family member, or friend and find the information they need -- activities to keep children entertained, coping strategies, treatment options -- to manage the condition on their terms."     Eileen Bailey, prominent ADHD advocate, has joined THCN to lead the community as the site's Expert Caregiver. Bailey, whose son has ADHD, will educate, support, and empower visitors through regular columns in SharePost(TM), THCN's new social networking tool. Bailey has also contributed articles to the site about managing the condition in children and as an adult, shedding light on diagnosing and treating Adult ADHD, understanding the differences between ADD and ADHD, and determining what to do when you have just been diagnosed. She also provides tips on success in adult relationships with ADHD and insight into how to help your child succeed in school. Psychiatrist, Dr. Chris Ballas, M.D., will respond to questions and write regularly about ADHD issues as the site's health professional.     "It is important for patients to receive an accurate diagnosis and medical treatment to manage the symptoms of ADHD. It is equally important for patients, and their families, to have a support system available," said Expert Caregiver Eileen Bailey. "The support of a community provides a place to be accepted, to share triumphs and failures, to swap ideas and strategies for coping with ADHD on a daily basis. Through this community, people can take a proactive role in managing symptoms and creating successes in their lives."     Eileen Bailey began her quest for information on ADHD ten years ago, when her son, then age 10, was diagnosed. Although there were books available on ADHD, Eileen sought out support groups to help provide her with information on how other parents were coping with the daily struggles. Not finding any support groups close to her home, she and her husband developed their own web site to provide online support for parents raising children with ADHD. Eileen wrote articles to provide information and monitored the chat and forum.     In 2001, she accepted a position at as a guide for their ADHD site. Over the years, Eileen has written hundreds of articles on all aspects of living with ADHD. She has been a guest on several radio shows, and her articles have appeared on many websites as well as in local magazines. A Certified Life Strategies Coach, she often works to help parents with the daily difficulties of living with and raising children with ADHD, and will continue to provide advice and insight for the community.     About The HealthCentral Network     The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( is a new and unique online offering, comprised of more than 30 health and highly specific condition Web properties. Each site provides timely, interactive, in- depth, and trusted medical information from organizations including Harvard Health Publications among others, and connections to leading experts and thousands of people who share their related experiences and inspiration.     The HealthCentral Network recently launched personal health tools including CareCentralSM, the most comprehensive web solution to help caregivers manage their communities of friends and families ( The company also produces the nationally syndicated television show called "Medical Breakthroughs Presented by HealthCentral," and has a library of nearly 1,000 short-form, condition- specific videos throughout its network.     The HealthCentral Network was acquired in 2005 by Polaris Ventures, Sequoia Capital, The Carlyle Group and Allen & Company, and has built a management team that combines decades of experience in interactive media and medical, science, and news journalism. The company received top recognition from The International Health and Medical Media Awards with a 2006 FREDDIE Award for and the Health Care Standard of Excellence WebAward from the Web Marketing Association. 
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Ask 100 Doctors(R) Announces Enhanced Web-Based Technology That Provides Unrivaled Real Time Access to Physician Views

Ask 100 Doctors(R) Announces Enhanced Web-Based Technology That Provides Unrivaled Real Time Access to Physician Views
Tuesday June 5, 10:15 am ET

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Ask 100 Doctors® is a web- based technology that enables nearly instant access to the consensus opinions of a national panel of Board Certified physicians. This patent pending technology allows users to make decisions based on the collective opinions of physicians in multiple specialties. The system is unique in its rapid access to physicians, transparency and ability to bridge physicians with users from different fields. System users can create their own questions through an on- line interface or work with one of our physician editors to create more comprehensive scenarios.

Michael Koren, MD, FACC, CEO of Encore Research Group, announced the launch of the new web interface. "We have already seen positive responses from corporate clients using the enhanced Ask 100 Doctors® technology. Users have come from many fields including consultancy practice, pharmaceutical market research, hospital formulary decision making, medical-legal affairs, medical news reporting and public policy. We feel the capabilities of the system are just starting to be understood."

Bobbie Montano, Senior Director of Marketing added, "We have been able to successfully engage physicians with our creative business model supported by incredibly innovative technologies that appeal to physicians' sensibilities. The end result is a turbo-charged system that generates actionable information for our clients. I marvel at how the system bridges clients with our doctor panel."

Ask 100 Doctors enhancements include keyword assignment with "push" technology. This capability allows instant identification and review of physician opinions on a variety of case scenarios that may impact the products or services of users. The technology allows users to get answers from their desktop computers in minutes to hours rather than days to weeks. The method of framing questions provides market research perspective and insight into why doctors make specific decisions.

Ask 100 Doctors, an Encore Research product, can be viewed online at Reasonably priced subscriptions to the website case library are available. Encore Research Group's technology has been educating and improving communication among researchers, physicians, and corporations since 1997.

Source: Encore Research Group
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Web 2.0 madness grips China

Web 2.0 madness grips China

By Michael Kanellos

Story last modified Thu Jun 07 06:43:03 PDT 2007

BEIJING--Forget Silicon Valley--if you want to see a place enthralled with Web 2.0, come to China.

A rising middle class, cheap start-up costs, increasing penetration of PCs and Internet-enabled cell phones, and an ability to tap the local market better than multinationals like Google or, among other factors, is fueling a rush into Web sites, online games and companies with novel advertising pitches.

Margins are tight and competition is intense, but there's a huge payout for the winners.

One of those winners is Kevin Li, founder of video-sharing site Li is probably the most enthusiastic person I've ever met.

He bounds past workers installing ceiling tiles and fixing the elevator to greet me. "You're the first visitor in our new office. Ha ha!" he exclaims, adding that the old office was a rented house.

Li has a lot of reasons to be excited. Last September, when it launched, was one of more than 200 newly minted video-sharing sites in China. Now, it's one of the fastest-growing survivors. The site attracted 2 million unique users a day in the last week of May, Li claims, and unique users have been growing by 200,000 a day on average per week., which broke even in three months, is the 46th most popular site in China, according to Web site ranker Alexa.

In 2006, advertisers included HiSense, an electronics manufacturer, and PC giant Lenovo. Now the list includes Disney, Nokia, McDonald's, Motorola, Nike and Ford. Baidu, which controls about 70 percent of the search market in China, has struck a two-year partnership with and invested in the company. VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson also recently invested.

Our tour begins with a visit to the sales team, which includes a former top salesperson for Chinese portal Then we maneuver past workers installing doors to meet the technical team and the CTO, who formerly worked for a national defense agency.

Then it's off to see the new video studio, where advertisers and top contributors to the site will come to film clips.

Where does the company name come from? "KU6," he blurts out and gives me a hand gesture, similar to the "Hang Loose" sign from Hawaii. "KU" means cool, he explains, and six is a lucky number. The hand gesture means six.

And who are all the young kids in the main room hunched over PCs? They review the videos submitted by users to ensure they don't contain inappropriate violence, sex or political messages. If the video won't raise flags with censors, posts it.

"This is China, after all. Ha ha!," Li explains.

Chinese companies have also discovered along the way that it's a way to have a software industry without having to worry so much about piracy.

"Online gaming is a huge success. If you tired to sell a PlayStation 2, all the games would be pirated. With online gaming, you control things on the server side," said Ted Dean, managing director of BDA, a consulting firm specializing in Asia. "A pop star can make more money on a ring tone that China Mobile sells for 2RMB (about 26 cents) than a top 40 single because the CD is going to be copied."

More-traditional software companies are benefiting as well. Incesoft Technology makes a plug-in for messaging applications that lets users conduct natural language queries on a few subjects. Type in a request for flights to Shanghai, and your IM client fetches a page that lets you buy tickets from select airlines. It retrieves songs and weather reports too. Incesoft makes money by sharing revenue with content providers. MSN and Yahoo have both signed deals with the company.

The investment portfolio of WI Harper Group highlights the phenomenon. In the U.S., the company has primarily invested in chip and networking companies. In China, most of its investments revolve around media or consumers. The list includes Focus Media Holdings (LCD advertisements), Panorama Media Holdings (commercial photography), Daqi (monitors bulletin board sites to gauge corporate reputation); Maxthon (a browser maker that makes money through revenue share) and NuChannel Holding (digital magazines).

"In China, a lot of things we do are consumer driven, and a lot of it is (business) model driven rather than technology driven," said WI Harper partner Wayne Shiong.

Focus, which runs video ads on public LCD screens, gets credit by many for upping the excitement around Web 2.0. The key is that the company's screens are located where lines congregate, which is to say everywhere in China: bank lobbies, shopping centers, convenience stores, inside elevators, and the lobby next to the elevators where a person can wait a minute or longer for a car.

The company formed in 2003 and held an IPO in 2005. The stock went out at $17 a share and now sells for around $44. Revenue in the first quarter came to $58.1 million, up 75 percent from a year ago, while profit rose 73 percent to $16.3 million.

The rapid success and somewhat unusual delivery model for ads "changed the mindset" of both entrepreneurs and local advertisers, who were more focused on print and TV, said Ian Chin, president of Wealink, a Mandarin language version of LinkedIn. "You have to wait so you have eyeballs."

Word got around fast. "After they went public, the Focus executives would hit the button for Floor-1 (the floor below the lobby) instead of L (for lobby)," said Chin, who works in the same building. Instead of stopping in the lobby to exit the building, the executives were going a floor lower to the garage, where their new cars were parked.

Gavin Ni, CEO of Zero-2-IPO, a publishing house that tracks the Chinese market, asserts that a lot of the activity isn't so much around technology, but the relatively untapped nature of the domestic market.

"China is a developing country, and so now what people want are brands and consistency," Ni said. "Clothes, food, beverages are interesting."

Cultural nuances
The success of many local companies has come at the expense of multinationals. Google is a distant second to Baidu. While a preference to "buy local" can't be dismissed, many Chinese say that international vendors ignored cultural nuances.

Google, for instance, will split Chinese names into separate terms in a search, which skews the results, said Max Yuan, CEO of Incesoft, adding that Chinese search engines like Baidu do a better job. To prop up their efforts in China, Yahoo teamed up with Alibaba, while Amazon bought local online bookseller Joyo.

Business models also need to be tailored to local conditions too. The 83,000-plus screen network owned by Focus actually isn't a network at all. If the screens were connected, it would constitute a TV network and the government would insist on monitoring the content. Thus, the ads don't come from a central server. People on bicycles go to the screens every week and replace the memory card in the back, which bureaucrats have no problem with, Shiong said.

In video, grew by tapping in the ubiquitous desire to make money. Like Revver in the U.S., gives a portion of its ad revenue to people who submit videos. But then it goes one step further. The top 10 money earners and top 10 video contributors are listed on KU6's home page, which turns contributing to the network into sort of a video game. The site provides data on the top earners for the day, the current month and since the site began. Contributors get 10 percent to 50 percent of the ad revenue.

Li offers different types of ad presentation, with some advertisers opting to have their ads run before the video instead of after, which the most popular format. The company also holds contests: Yili, a dairy company, gave a 100,000 renminbi ($13,000) prize to the person who came up with the best ad. The contest drew more than 500 videos made by amateurs and professionals and generated 18 million page views. The top earner has pulled in $5,700 since September--more than many new college graduates earn in a year.

The top contributor for May posted 7,089 videos during the month. "That means this guy posted over 200 videos every day," Li said. "I don't pay this man's salary or provide an office for him. I just share."

Then there are the "soft" ads. Li gets contributors to make ads/product placement videos for advertisers. In one, a surly teenager walks alone in the streets talking about loneliness and carrying an MP3 player.

"Samsung. Look!" Li laughs.

Another factor fueling the boom is that Chinese media companies are inexpensive to create and run. A growing start-up with 40 to 50 employees might burn through 500,000 renminbi ($67,000) a month, Shiong said.

By contrast, chip companies or manufacturing outfits require buildings, intellectual property, land and often lots of employees. These companies also have to try to sell products internationally, unlike media and software companies that can stay local.

"The amount needed is really low. Survivability is not an issue," he said. "The problem is scalability."

And would-be media giants know that they can't rest for a moment.

"Either die or make money," said Li.

Copyright ©1995-2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Drug firm's movie gets mixed reviews

Drug firm's movie gets mixed reviews

With local showing, critics say story of disease patients is just an advertising ploy  
Pioneer Press Press   
Article Last Updated:06/01/2007 12:12:45 AM CDT
Depending on whom you ask, the movie "Innerstate" is either a touching documentary about people overcoming autoimmune diseases, or a sly tactic in "Big Pharma" advertising.

Either way, it's coming soon to a theater in Brooklyn Center.

"Innerstate" chronicles a race car driver with Crohn's disease, a countrywestern singer with rheumatoid arthritis and a restaurant manager with psoriasis. All three have comeback stories despite their incurable diseases.

"The movie was meant to inspire people and give people hope," said Janie Feliz, 20, the singer, whose condition hasn't slowed her drive toward a career in Nashville.

The controversy comes from the fine print. The hourlong movie is funded and produced by Centocor Inc., the maker of Remicade, the top-selling drug for autoimmune conditions, which result when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. All three people in the movie take Remicade, and while the brand name isn't mentioned in the film, some critics believe it is an advertisement masquerading as a documentary.

"Innerstate" reflects a blending of advertising and art taking place in much of American culture. The movie's indirect approach also reflects a softer edge from a drug industry that usually hammers home brand names and catchphrases such as the Purple Pill. The idea of such "patient education" or "disease awareness" is to inform people about diseases so they are motivated to learn about treatments on their own.

"It's a means to create marketing buzz about these diseases," said Jon Schommer, a drug-marketing expert with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

"Innerstate" has appeared in 10 cities since February, and concern has been building. A labor union in Philadelphia complained last week that, although the drug name isn't mentioned in the movie, it is featured prominently in materials distributed after the show. The union represents custodians who clean Centocor's offices.

Centocor created the movie to inform the public about diseases that are poorly understood and can cause pain and humiliation for patients, said Michael Parks, Centocor's vice president of communications.

Remicade is a biologic drug, meaning it is made from human cell cultures, and it disrupts how the immune system attacks the body. There are several competing drugs for autoimmune diseases, but Remicade is the market leader, producing $3 billion in sales last year for Centocor and its parent company, Johnson Johnson.

Doctors have reported remarkable turnarounds for patients with autoimmune diseases since these drugs were developed. Previously, there was little to stop rheumatoid arthritis, for example, which deforms joints and causes severe pain and swelling.

Crohn's inflames the digestive tract, raising the risk of colon cancer and causing pain and chronic diarrhea. Psoriasis causes flaky, scaly skin that is not only uncomfortable but also can embarrass sufferers.

"Innerstate" opens with Jason Knott, 33, who grew up with psoriasis and skin lesions covering as much as 80 percent of his body. He recalls in the film how parents pulled their children out of the water as he dipped into a neighborhood pool.

Centocor's Parks selected the three patients for the film, focusing on young, active patients to break down myths about the diseases.

"It is, in our mind, unconscionable that psoriasis patients are still treated like lepers," Parks said. "It's not a communicable disease."

Public stigma over autoimmune diseases came up during this session of the Minnesota Legislature, when lawmakers took ridicule for voting to guarantee that people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis could use restrooms in private buildings or retail stores.

Ray Ciccarelli, who is profiled in the movie, has Crohn's disease. The 36-year-old now races in a NASCAR junior league, but prior to treatment, he rarely left his house for fear of not getting to a bathroom in time.

Regardless of whether "Innerstate" is intended as marketing, analysts believe it will help Centocor. As the market leader, it benefits from anything promoting the diseases its drugs can treat.

The key question is whether the film crosses the line from information to persuasion, said Schommer, the U expert, who has not seen the film.

Centocor appears to be using a marketing strategy common in Europe, where drug companies are banned from advertising directly to consumers, Schommer said. The strategy is to heighten public awareness about a disease and then arm physicians with drug information and samples they can offer when patients come to them with questions.

"The successful ones have it orchestrated beautifully," Schommer said.

Dr. Carolyn Bowles believes it is marketing, and that drug companies are poor sources for patient education. The Edina rheumatologist nonetheless accepted Centocor's invitation to speak after the June 9 screening in Brooklyn Center.

She said some patients don't need Remicade, which has such powerful effects on the immune system that it can increase the risks of infections such as tuberculosis.

Others need it earlier but are forced to wait because of insurance restrictions, she said. Remicade is given by infusion and costs each patient $12,000 to $20,000 per year.

Jeremy Olson can be reached at or 651-228-5583.


What: a free movie followed by physician comments and health fair

When: 10 a.m. June 9

Where: Regal 20, 6420 Camden Ave. N., Brooklyn Center


Why: Critics call this a new tactic in pharmaceutical advertising, but drug maker Centocor said it produced the movie to spread awareness and humanize immune system diseases.

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Online, Spanish-language ad spending increases

Online, Spanish-language ad spending increases

Procter & Gamble--at number one--and Johnson & Johnson--at number nine--were among the top-10 advertisers during the first quarter of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence. P&G spent $722.7 million during the period, down 8.6% from the same period in 2006 due to cutbacks in health and beauty products. Overall, Internet spending spiked 16.7% year over year, with total spending reaching more than $2.7 billion during the first quarter. Spanish-language and cable TV were the only TV categories to experience year-over-year growth in spending, whereas network, spot, and nationally syndicated TV spending dropped. However, TNS points out that 2007 first quarter results are negatively affected by comparison to last year's Winter Olympic spending.

buzz this launches Ask3D for easier Web searching launches Ask3D for easier Web searching is competing with its search rivals by launching Ask3D, which produces Web, image, video, news, blog, sponsored links, and other search results all on the same page. According to the company, it takes an average of four queries for people to find what they are looking for, and the new features reduce this "hunting and pecking." For example, searching for "Avandia" yields not only organic text links, but also video of a CBS news clip, which begins in preview mode when the mouse hovers over the image, allowing the user to see a portion of the clip without navigating away from the main results page. It also suggests other related terms to narrow the search, in this case, terms such as "Avandia side effects" and "Avandia recall." Other new features include location-based results, which filter based on the user's geographic location. For example, searching for CVS will yield nearby business locations. Users can also customize their backgrounds, according to the company.

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PhRMA reports examine reactions to DTC advertising

PhRMA reports examine reactions to DTC advertising

PhRMA released two new reports this week about consumer and physician feedback to DTC advertising. The first report is based on 458 comments, mostly from consumers, about how companies are adhering to PhRMA's DTC Guiding Principles. Consumers showed strong support for the inclusion of patient assistance information in ads and airing ads for age-appropriate audiences. Criticisms included the use of certain actors in a DTC ad and confusion about risk information. The other report collected anecdotal feedback from a panel of independent health professions who watched TV and print ads during a five-month period in 2006. Panel members noted that the most effective ads were product specific and promoted drugs in a context of raising awareness about a condition. They suggested emphasizing the value of portraying realistic scenarios in ads to reflect serious medical conditions.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Web is home to grassroots patient safety movements

Web is home to grassroots patient safety movements

Grassroots groups are using the Web to get behind patient safety issues. The Wall Street Journal highlighted Web sites such as, a Web site created by a woman whose 18-month-old daughter died from preventable medical errors. She has a blog about patient safety, and families can share their own experiences as well. Visitors can also receive support from other users and advice from medical and legal experts. The site also provides tools for hospitals. In its resources section are recommended reading items and links to articles, including one from a February issue of the Los Angeles Times entitled "Secrecy's dangerous side effects," which discusses Eli Lilly's Zyprexa settlement. The Wall Street Journal also featured the organizations,, and Medically Induced Trauma Support Services.

buzz this display ads are tops in consumer reach display ads are tops in consumer reach's national display ad network continues to be the number-one source of online consumer reach, according to comScore Media Metrix. In April, ads served on's display network reached 87.6% of U.S. online consumers. That equates to more than 156 million unique visitors. Behind was ValueClick, reaching 74.1% of online consumers, Tribal Fusion, with a 65.2% reach, and Casale Media Network, with a 64.9% reach. also ranked number one among ad networks in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. A wholly owned subsidiary of AOL, LLC, has held the top spot for 36 consecutive months, it says.

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Company launches oncology-specific search engine for docs

Company launches oncology-specific search engine for docs has launched the third in its series of specialty-specific search engines. The company added SearchMedica Oncology, which allows oncologists to connect to credible medical Web sites, online journals, and clinical research. The oncology-focused search engine sorts results by either relevance or publication date, depending on which the user prefers. The search results that SearchMedica Oncology provides are tailored to the needs of healthcare professionals. For example, searching the term "melanoma" on Google yields more than 10 million results, which are mostly aimed at consumer interests. However, SearchMedica Oncology returns fewer than 75,000 results from medical information sources, according to the company.

SearchMedica previously launched search engines for psychiatrists (ePharm5, 1/24/07) and primary care physicians, and it plans to add additional specialties in the future.

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Partnership ads detailed targeting to its online video ads

Partnership ads detailed targeting to its online video ads

Advertisers will soon be able to target their online video advertising based on any set of data across the Tremor Media network. The technology comes from a partnership between video and rich-media ad network Tremor Media, whose clients include Pfizer, and video ad technology provider Visible World. Advertisers will be able to use data such as ZIP codes, demographics, or context to target their online video messages. Advertisers can create and monitor hundreds, or even thousands, of versions of their video ads to deliver optimized messages to hundreds of Web sites.

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Critics Use Online-Video Site to Skewer Eli Lilly, Promote Documentary

Critics Use Online-Video Site to Skewer Eli Lilly, Promote Documentary

NEW YORK ( -- Forget Congress and the Food and Drug Administration. More worrisome to the pharmaceutical industry these days is YouTube. The online-video site famous for exploding Diet Coke bottles is blasting Big Pharma as YouTube gains popularity among drug-industry critics as a means to influence public opinion on the industry.


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Sunday, June 03, 2007

LOLcat Fever Sweeps the Internet

LOLcat Fever Sweeps the Internet

A new form of entertainment and communication currently sweeping the Internet is simple, funny and mind-numbing. It's called "lolcats," or images of cats with poor, grammatically-unsound exclamations attached to them, reports Globe and Mail. For example, one cat exclaims, "IM IN UR FRIDGE EATIN UR FOODZ."
Arguably the most famous involves a cat asking, "I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?," an irreverent question that also serves as the URL for a site at which users submit similar such photos.
The source of the "lolcats" phenomenon is the ease of user participation - anyone with a camera and a cat can participate - coupled with the humor. Dubbed "kitty pidgin," it has spun off to pictures of walruses, Star Trek and George W. Bush ("I HAS A BUDGET?").
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