They're calling the new deal between Revolution Health and Waterfront Media a merger, but I think Web MD's CEO probably has it right in this Media Post article:
He described the deal as a "bailout" for Revolution Health--which he said had boosted traffic in part through alliances with sites such as Drugstore.com, which is principally an e-commerce rather than an ad-supported business.
"We're not interested in trying to bulk up our comScore metrics as benchmark of success," he said. Nevertheless, he said WebMD would continue to consider potential acquisitions that would help "grow our brand and business proposition."
Sounds about right, honestly.
I find his reference specifically to bulking up comScore metrics very interesting. Any web business knows that media buyers can treat those reach numbers like the bible. But they're also very revealing. Where is that reach coming from? Are sites really comprised of the kind of traffic they promise? Anyone who cares to can delve into those numbers for well-known web properties and be surprised
The bottom line questions that will determine the success of this newly merged property: 1) Do media buyers find the page views that come to a site like Drugstore.com as valuable as the ones that come to the information and community pages (and if they did wouldn't Revolution have been doing better?) and 2) how much of this supposed newly merged traffic is unduplicated? Because that too can be determined.
We'll see; we'll see.