Cable operators are gearing up to launch their latest free VOD collaboration next month, MyLife on Demand. It is a soft launch, with various operators, including Time Warner Cable, Cox and Comcast, rolling out the health and wellness channel around Nov 17. A hard launch is planned for Jan. Spot cable receiving only a very small portion of the billions of ad dollars being spent by pharmaceutical and health companies, so spot cable firm NCC was tasked with creating a unified effort allowing allow national ads to be placed across all MSOs as well as insertion of local spots. MyLife is in the same vein as the Elections ’08 VOD channel ( Cfax , 9/25), but it’s also different. "The idea behind Election ’08 was to put interesting content up there for citizens to view and also lure in candidates [for ad buys]," said NCC svp, marketing & biz dev Andrew Capone. But unlike MyLife, much of the Election ’08 content was not sponsorable. Health and wellness has "hundreds and hundreds of different advertisers and agencies," Capone said. No advertisers are on board yet, with Capone expecting it to be a slow build as the launch ramps up. By Jan, he expects MyLife to be available to 30mln HHs. And while the Elections channel received content from established linear nets such as History and C-SPAN, MyLife will aggregate much of its programming from alternative providers, such as VOD channels HealthiNation and ExerciseTV as well as online properties, like NBC Digital Health Network. Advertisers can also sponsor long-form programming. Content providers won’t be paid but get exposure. Presumably, they’ll get a cut of advertising, but Capone declined to discuss specifics. Chris Mansolillo, gm of ExerciseTV, said he looks forward to the publicity. His VOD net is in 30mln homes, including some Comcast, TWC, Cox and Bresnan systems, but "when it comes to marketing for a free VOD channel, there are very few avenues," he said. "We’re not out there buying billboards or full-page ads. It’s the marketing power behind MyLife on Demand that we’re really excited about. It gets us in front of more people than we can do on our own." Plus, it opens up the chance for new carriage deals for Exercise TV, which is a jv between Comcast, TWC, New Balance and Body by Jake. This project started before Canoe Ventures, but NCC is working hand-in-hand with Canoe. "It’s a prototype of how Canoe might operate in the future," Capone said, noting that Canoe is a technology enabler, not a sales organization. What about launching MyLife in the midst of an advertising crunch? "You have to trust that eventually the economy will turn… and this provides the combination of digital cable homes—the wealthiest cable homes in the country—with health and wellness, which attracts motivated consumers," Capone said. "Even if the advertising category is soft now, there are a lot of things we haven’t done yet—entire categories where we get very little money." No word on what might be next, but travel/tourism is viewed as a promising category for a similar initiative.

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