Medical News Puts Medstar In Good Health — Morning Call

14 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Ferretti 43

Medical News Puts Medstar In Good Health

January 18, 1987 | by RAY HOLTON, The Morning Call

Bill Ferretti, a Yalee, and Paul Dowling, a Julliard School of Music grad, are an unlikely pair in an unlikely business. In 1982, the duo formed Medstar Communications Inc. in Allentown and began to produce Health Matters, a syndicated half-hour television program.

The company had four employees in its first year, but was able to generate pretax earnings of 15 percent on $672,000 in revenue. Remember, few start-ups make money in two or three years, let alone the first year. By 1984, sales climbed to $2.8 million and Ferretti reported a positive cash flow of more than $500,000.

Today, Health Matters is in about 30 U.S. television markets and Medstar has just closed the books on about $5 million in sales revenue in 1986. Medstar alsolaunched a new product, MedSource, a weekly medical news service for television stations.

The outlook for that service appears bright since Medstar entered a marketing agreement with NIWS, a subsidiary of Lorimar-Telepictures Corp. the Los Angeles based television entertainment producer of such shows as Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing and People’s Court. Under the contract, NIWS has already signed up 39 television stations and is expected to find an additional 30 before the end of February. Medstar gets 70 percent of the revenues in the deal and stands a good chance of breaking even or producing a profit in the first year of MedSource, according to Ferretti.

Locally, Medstar has just sold Health Matters to Public Broadcasting System’s WLVT, Channel 39. The program is underwritten by Horizon Health System and its member hospitals, Muhlenberg Hospital Center and St. Luke’s Hospital.

When we started, we thought our market was going to be on public television, said Ferretti. Instead, commercial, network-affiliated stations jumped at the series and today represent the bulk of Medstar’s customers.

One of Medstar’s secrets to success is the program’s format and low overhead.

One guy called us the McDonald’s of television production, quipped Ferretti.

Medstar doesn’t own a camera or a production studio. It derives most of its revenue from hospitals that underwrite Health Matters in their local television markets.

We rent everything in the field, said Ferretti. We do the pre- production work and post-production. But production is done at a television station (customer).

A typical Health Matters half-hour segment will have 12 to 15 minutes of professionally produced videotape on subjects such as smoking, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia nervosa, or heart disease. Medstarprepare s a script for the local station to splice in the lead-in and end of the half-hour program using its own personnel or a local medical authority or panel.

Ferretti 43

Productivity took a giant leap after some growing pains in the first years of producing Health Matters.

When we hit a city to shoot the programs (in rented studios), it used to take us 10-hour days, recalled Ferretti. Well, that meant overtime. Now, we have the day trimmed down to 6.5 hours and we can shoot 11 programs in 2.5 days. Everybody’s paid by the day.

The company relies largely on free-lance directors, camera and sound crews, although it has a growing stable of full-time production and on-camera personnel.

The profitability of ‘Health Matters’ has allowed us to finance our growth. In four-and-a-half years, we’ve purchased $750,000 worth of capital assets and we did it the old fashioned way — we paid cash, said Ferretti. Today, we have a squeaky clean balance sheet with no debt. And even more important, the founders still hold all of Medstar’s stock.

We’ve used our long-term capital productively. We typically don’t buy equipment unless we can expect payback in less than a year.


On the operating statement, accounts receivable from our ‘Health Matters’ series usually are zero, said Ferretti. That’s because our contract, unique by TV industry standards, requires our customers to pay half our production fee up front when the contract is signed. That enables us to pay all of our direct production expenses and also contribute to overhead. We get the remaining money on the day of actual completion and delivery of the television programs.

Ferretti, 43, who holds a master’s degree in health administration from Yale University, was the executive director of the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust Fund whenhe met Dowling, 33, a talented musician who went into television production.

Health Matters, their first project, was successful enough that they channeled their energy into developing MedSource.

Interesting Articles

Tagged as:

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Medical News Puts Medstar In Good Health — Morning Call".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Twitter-news
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

dima911@gmail.com

Born in the USSR

423360519

About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.


Boats and Yacht catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about Boats and Yacht