MEDIA: WELLBEING - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Health and beauty TV station Wellbeing must differentiate itself, Yvonne Scullion writes

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;

Transmission hours 9am to 9pm, daily

Target audience Part-time working mothers

Advertisers include Bupa, Nicorette, Harmony Organics, Lloyd Grossman

Sauces, Robinsons, Kleenex.