Medical Channel immediately profitable after AU$25m raise and acquisition of rival firm

Australian point of care digital media company Medical Channel has announced it has raised AU$25 million and acquired rival digital signage company Community Network.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Medical Channel, a point of care digital media company, announced on Tuesday that it has raised AU$25 million in an investment round led by Sandbar Investments and Wingate Group. The company has used the funds to acquire rival digital signage firm Community Network, following its acquisition of another rival firm Medical Media in February this year.

Founded by Garry Fahey in 2012, Medical Channel provides healthcare practices with digital screens with an integrated media engine, which displays highly-targeted advertisements as patients wait to see their general practitioner (GP).

The company's content, which is created in-house on behalf of advertisers, reaches an audience of 6.25 million viewers per month in more than 3,200 healthcare practices, with an average dwell time of 30 minutes.

The company has more than 7,000 engaged advertisers at the moment, including pharmaceutical companies, health boards, and health organisations. The Community Network acquisition allows the company to expand into local community advertising. This means businesses like cafes, restaurants, real estate agents, or accountants can market their services to locals waiting to see their GPs.

"We all know the doctors in our community. If you're an organisation that wants to reach a mass audience or a local business that wants to attract people sitting in the waiting room for at least half an hour, what better way to do so than to put an advert on our screens, especially if that advert is created for you by us?" said Nazar Musa, CEO of Medical Channel.

Medical Channel also offers screens solely for medical practitioners as new medicines cannot be advertised on publicly-facing screens, Musa pointed out.

Musa, who joined the company in January this year after serving as CEO of LivingSocial Asia, said the Community Network acquisition extends the company's reach to more than 50 percent of the addressable market in Australia.

Prior to the acquisition, Medical Channel had grown to its break-even point but the acquisition has made the combined business "immediately profitable", according to Musa.

He revealed that Medical Channel's average overhead cost per digital screen is around AU$3,000 every three years (as screens are replaced every three years). This covers the cost of the screen itself, the software behind it, installment and servicing, and ongoing 3G/4G data charges. Healthcare practices don't pay anything as revenue is generated solely from advertisers.

While Musa was unable to reveal the value of the acquisition, he said the AU$25 million investment round was conducted to cover the cost of both the acquisition and Medical Channel's growth over the next 12 months.

Musa added that the company plans to target the allied health market in the future, but remains focused on growing its network of GPs.

"There's work still to be done in the GP network. While we're a market leader in this space, our initial focus is to solidify that market leadership and continue growing in the GP environment in Australia. Expanding into allied health and other geographies could be next, but it's not our immediate focus," Musa told ZDNet.

Medical Channel also acqui-hired the Community Network team, including its call centre employees in the Gold Coast, which doubled the company's headcount from 40 to 80.

At the start of the year, the company had just eight staff, but recently moved into a new office in Sydney to accommodate its growing team.

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