‘Searching’ for an Audience
The launch of Search Medica, a highly tailored search engine for health care professionals, signifies the entrance of United Business Media’s (UBM) publishing division into a new way of connecting its audience with both content and advertisers.
Partnering with Convera, a provider of search technologies, the London-based business-to-business multimedia company’s new search solution will allow articles from its international publications—including Psychiatric Times—to be searchable alongside content from recommended medical sites for free.
Henry Elkington, CEO of CMPMedica, UBM’s medical publishing division, talks with Publishing Executive about the new opportunities custom search engines, such as Search Medica, could generate for his company and the industry.
How will offering a Web search tool help retain readers and entice new readers for your print product?
Henry Elkington: This is not about protecting the print product. This is about serving our audience with a tool that will be valuable and useful for them. And if there is any indirect benefit on the print title that’s great, but that’s not the objective of creating Search Medica.
What was the driving factor behind its creation?
Elkington: It really came out of primary research we did with our audience—understanding how they used print titles, how they used the Internet. … For many professionals, they make daily use of search engines. They use search engines designed for consumers, which are good, but imperfect tools for professionals. That created the idea of whether we could create a better search engine just focusing in on physicians.
Do you consider this venture separate from the publishing aspect of the company’s business then?
Elkington: I’d say this is absolutely central to what we do. If we look at our health care business, yes, we have some health care titles. That’s not really the core of the business. The core of the business is that we have an audience, physicians, we have a set of advertisers and we’re basically in the business of connecting the audience with the advertisers. … We happen to do that today with some print titles. We do it with some events. We may do it with some other forms of media. [Search Medica is just] another form of media that connects the same audience with the same set of advertisers.