WebMD founder and Discovery Communications' Chief of Global Digital Strategy (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), Jeff Arnold, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, a leading cardiac surgeon, health expert and host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” announced today the launch of Sharecare, Inc., the first healthcare platform for consumers to ask, learn and act on the questions of health. Sharecare’s additional co-founders include, Discovery Communications, Harpo Productions, HSW International (NASDAQ: HSWI), and Sony Pictures Television.
“Sharecare’s vision is to build an ecosystem that simplifies the search for health and wellness information by organizing all of the questions of health and providing multiple answers representing different points of view. Our contributors will range from renowned celebrity physicians to acclaimed hospitals of excellence to best selling authors to local caregivers to online healthcare consumers,” said Jeff Arnold, who has taken an expanded role at Discovery as Chief of Global Digital Strategy and HowStuffWorks.com’ Chairman Emeritus, in addition to becoming Chairman and Chief Architect of Sharecare. “Leveraging the power of social networking, our contributors ‘share care’ through both personal experience and expert knowledge, bringing online healthcare into the 21st Century.” HSW International is developing Sharecare’s customizable social QA platform, which is built on a comprehensive information architecture. The platform features social and portability tools which will shift the paradigm for interaction between professional and consumer content and seamlessly extend the content experience to other websites.
A subset of the initial questions and answers powered by Sharecare and its expert content contributors is now available in the “Ask Dr. Oz” section on www.doctoroz.com, the website of “The Dr. Oz Show,” a nationally syndicated daily series co-produced by Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television. Since the launch of “The Dr. Oz Show,” Dr. Oz has been receiving thousands of requests daily from people who want his advice and information on their health questions. Dr. Oz is creating a coalition of expert doctors, hospitals and practitioners, all of whom will work together to answer viewers’ health questions – creating an even stronger connection between “The Dr. Oz Show” and its viewers. The comprehensive platform is expected to launch on www.Sharecare.com in 2010.
“There is an unprecedented need for accurate, useful and diversified medical information,” said Mehmet Oz, M.D. “I have one hour a day with our national television audience but the care of health is a 24 hour, 365 day phenomenon. With Sharecare, we have created a resource that invites everyone from experts to new moms to share valuable insights about our mind, body and soul and with this information comes a combined IQ on health that is greater than the sum of its parts. We invite everyone to join us in building this collective wisdom.” “We are excited to partner in the launch of this ground-breaking, new healthcare platform as it directly aligns with Discovery’s strategy of delivering informationbased, high-quality content while also strengthening our long-term partnership with Harpo Productions,” said Bruce Campbell, President, Digital Media and Corporate Development, Discovery Communications.
Initial Content Contributors
Providing information and resources to answer the questions of health, the initial powerhouse of content providers includes:
- Hospitals and Academic Medical Centers: Sharecare creates a global platform for hospitals to create a further connection with consumers and share their research. Initial contributors include several of the leading healthcare providers in the world; Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and NewYork- Presbyterian Hospital.
- Leading health and wellness authors: Sharecare allows authors to establish direct relationships with consumers by formatting their book content into expert answers. Initial partners include: Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen (both Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers), Dr. Dean Ornish and Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books).
Simon & Schuster is partnering with Sharecare to make it easy to purchase individual book chapters from which some of the expert answers are derived. Simon & Schuster has created an ecommerce widget that is powering the test of an innovative platform for the initial launch on www.doctoroz.com that enables someone who has read an answer from the YOU Book series to purchase in “one-click” individual e-chapters or the entire book, in digital or physical formats, as a natural extension of the information seeking process. Allowing the purchase of just the one or two chapters represents a transformative shift from current online models requiring consumers to buy the entire book. Sharecare and Simon & Schuster intend to offer this e-commerce capability on www.sharecare.com to other publishers and authors.
- Associations/Societies: Healthcare associations can increase their voice by sharing their expertise. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing approximately 6,000 heart and lung surgeons, researchers, and allied health professionals worldwide who will use their extensive research and knowledge base to provide answers to relevant questions.
- Healthcare professionals: With its powerful publishing and social tools, Sharecare makes it easy for the 3 million allied health professionals to reach their patients online by creating an easily updated and scalable presence in their communities. Health care professionals that are early adopters and contributors include Dr. Robert Kaufmann, Dr. Erik Hoy, and Dr. Mona Lisa.
- Online healthcare resources: The QA format lets healthcare websites submit answers from their existing online content. The initial founders will be providing thousands of answers featured from content on Discovery Health, HowStuffWorks.com, and Oprah.com. By providing cited answers, online content creators will be able to drive traffic back to the source material as well as create new engagement opportunities. Healthy Humans is also participating in the initial launch, bringing together some of the world’s top integrative medical doctors to answer questions and provide solutions related to diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol.
- Consumers: Individuals can share knowledge, experience and support with peers on Sharecare. Daily Strength, a subsidiary of HSW International, will be acquired by Sharecare. Daily Strength, often referred to as “the Facebook of Health” and one of the largest peer to peer support group sites on the web today will give Sharecare immediate access to an established social network of people that can ask and answer questions.
- Not for profits: Sharecare will provide access to its platform to not for profits to encourage conversations between the organization and potential volunteers, donors and information seekers. Challenge America, a national organization that supports and raises awareness for the hundreds of thousands of war veterans who suffer from post combat injuries, is participating in the initial launch.
Innovative Business Model – The “Knowledge Partner”
As part of Sharecare’s unique business model, answers are also provided by “Knowledge Partners,” private sector sponsoring companies that have compiled substantial research through product development, pharmaceutical and medical device discovery, or consumer product development. This unique engagement allows a brand to develop a direct relationship with consumers by transparently participating in the conversations of health, as opposed to simply purchasing a traditional banner ad.
Sharecare’s inaugural “Knowledge Partner” is Dove, the global beauty brand, which is providing thousands of answers specific to the topic of skin care. Dove’s expertise stems from its 50+ year heritage as a leader in research and breakthrough skin care technologies.
Both websites, www.doctoroz.com and www.sharecare.com, are represented exclusively by Sony Pictures Television Advertiser Sales, which also sells the inventory in "The Dr. Oz Show."
Sharecare Inc., created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz, in partnership with Harpo Productions, HSW International, Sony Pictures Television, and Discovery Communications, is a highly searchable social QA healthcare platform organizing and answering the questions of health. The company's innovative approach provides a wide array of expert answers to each question ranging from hospitals to MDs to non-profits to healthcare companies to active health consumers ultimately creating a community where healthcare knowledge is built, shared and put into practice.
Sharecare was represented in this transaction by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5
billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
Harpo Productions, Inc. produces the number-one-rated, award-winning The Oprah Winfrey Show; creates and develops original TV programming for primetime, syndication and cable television; and operates Oprah.com (www.oprah.com), a premier lifestyle website. ZoCo Productions, LLC, an affiliate of Harpo Productions, Inc., and Sony Pictures Television co-produce “The Dr. Oz Show.” Harpo Print, LLC and Hearst Magazines publish the monthly O, The Oprah Magazine publication. Harpo Films produces feature films and, through an exclusive deal with HBO, scripted television programming. Harpo Radio, Inc. produces Oprah Radio (XM channel 156, Sirius channel 195 as part of its “Best of XM” package) on Sirius XM Radio. A joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a multi-platform company, will debut in 2010 in more than 70 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.
ABOUT HSW INTERNATIONAL
HSW International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSWI) develops and operates Internet businesses focused on providing consumers in the world's emerging digital economies with locally relevant, high quality information. The Company, which is headquartered in Atlanta and incorporated in Delaware, currently operates businesses in China, Brazil and the United States.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry’s leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform: broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution. In addition to one of the industry’s largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. Internationally, SPT is a leading producer of local language scripted and non-scripted programming. SPT also sells SPE-owned formats in approximately 70 countries. To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SPT's worldwide television networks portfolio, which includes branded networks AXN, Sony Entertainment Television, and Animax, is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 119 channel feeds available in more than 130 countries, reaching almost 400 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE’s premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT is a part owner of cable channel GSN, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT’s syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States, and for Sony Music Entertainment. SPT (http://www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company