Last week saw the launch of Wellbeing, a digital TV station and
associated website dedicated to all things connected with health and
As this is a subject that has obsessed women since Cleopatra hit on
asses' milk as a neat alternative to body lotion, this joint venture
between Granada and Boots is operating in fertile territory. The pursuit
of looking and feeling good is something which women spend a huge amount
of time, money and energy on. So, on the face of it, Wellbeing should be
a winning format.
The problem, however, is that this is an area in which the direct
competition is very high. There's a countless array of magazines
dedicated to this subject, to say nothing of the innumerable features
and supplements in the national press, as well as hours of programming
on existing channels, covering everything from Ayurredic medicine to
eyebrow designing for the beginner. It's still early days for this new
channel, but based on the opening weekend's programming, it is difficult
to see anything that pulls this product apart from the pack.
The overall look and feel is lodged in the territory of cheap daytime
television (in comparison, Richard and Judy is bursting with high
production values), and the tone and content is bland, worthy and,
frankly, a little dull.
A day dedicated to dieting provided few facts that any self-respecting
reader of women's magazines wouldn't already know, and it was presented
in a style that was decidedly short on either personality or
And therein lies the problem. At first sight, it's difficult to see
women building up a relationship with this channel, because it simply
isn't entertaining enough and its use as a source of hard fact and
information is decidedly limited. Given the existing competition for the
hearts, minds and credit cards of the nation's housewives, Wellbeing
will struggle to make an impact in its existing form.
The website, however, is a more promising proposition, since it is
focused on providing factual information, with no pretensions to being
chatty and companionable. The layout is clean and unfussy - a sensible
route when the content ranges from threadworms (the cause and treatment
of) to childbirth. Generally the health section was stronger than
beauty, but I can see this site being used as a one-stop reference point
in the future.
Ultimately, the success of Wellbeing will depend on delivering the
revenue model (income generated through advertising and e-tail), and at
present it is difficult to see how it is differentiated enough to drive
either in a market that is so well established.
Owner Joint venture between Granada and Boots
Platforms ONdigital and Sky Digital TV; wellbeing.com
Transmission hours 9am to 9pm, daily
Target audience Part-time working mothers
Advertisers include Bupa, Nicorette, Harmony Organics, Lloyd Grossman
Sauces, Robinsons, Kleenex.