Healthy returns from WebMD: CEO

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 | 7:16 PM ET
Healthy returns from WebMD
Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 | 5:40 PM ET
WebMD is up 106 percent this year. Its CEO David Schlanger speaks about the company's transition to mobile, and shares his thoughts on Obamacare.

With a share price up 104 percent year to date and a new mobile app that saw 17 million downloads since its release two weeks ago, WebMD appears to have a healthy diagnosis ahead of it.

"We certainly provide a really comprehensive health and wellness experience, so it's not just really around disease and condition, but it's that plus healthy lifestyle, healthy living," CEO David Schlanger said on CNBC's "Fast Money." "We really view health as an everyday activity."

WebMD stock closed at $29.49 per share, down 0.24 percent.

Asked whether the trend toward mobile would eat into WebMD's revenues, Schlanger counted on healthy desktop web traffic. "We actually view mobile as an incremental opportunity for us," he said.

"We have ample page-view inventory on PC to satisfy our current revenue expectations," he said, adding that "very little mobile" revenues represented growth potential.

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WebMD could be facing new competition in the online health space from Google, which announced the launch of Calico, "a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases."

Schlanger said that he didn't see the new venture as a true competitor.

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"As I understand the Google announcement, it's really not about empowering consumers with health information," he said. "It's actually looking for solutions to health problems via new pharmaceutical products or biotech products.

Schlanger, who counts 125 million visitors a month to WebMD.com, said that another potential catalyst lies in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"We view the Affordable Care Aact and a bunch of the other macro trends that are actually happening in health care as opportunities for us," he said.

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Schlanger cited the launch of a new channel, featuring "a comprehensive set of information and services" on the health care law, which he called "very complex legislation."

"From a monetization perspective, it actually creates opportunities for us because for the first time health plans now are going to have to become health-marketing organizations because they'll be selling health insurance directly to consumers," he added.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

— CNBC's Michael Newberg contributed research to this report. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeNewberg.

Trader disclosure: On Sept. 24, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Guy Adami is long C; Guy Adami is long GS; Guy Adami is long INTC; Guy Adami is long MSFT; Guy Adami is long AGU; Guy Adami is long NUE; Guy Adami is long BTU; Guy Adami's wife, Linda Snow, works at Merck; Pete Najarian is long calls AAPL; Pete Najarian is long calls C; Pete Najarian is long calls WFC; Pete Najarian is long calls INTC; Pete Najarian is long calls YHOO; Pete Najarian is long calls FB; Pete Najarian is long calls MSFT; Pete Najarian is long calls UAL; Pete Najarian is long calls JBLU; Pete Najarian is long BX; Pete Najarian is long MRK; Pete Najarian is long BMY; Pete Najarian is long FE; Brian Kelly is long treasury note funds ; As of 9/19 Steve Grasso is long BA; Steve Grasso is long BAC; Steve Grasso is long BBRY; Steve Grasso is long GDX; Steve Grasso is long GOOG; Steve Grasso is long HERO; Steve Grasso is long HPQ; Steve Grasso is long MHY; Steve Grasso is long LNG; Steve Grasso is long MJNA; Steve Grasso is long NVIV; Steve Grasso is long PFE; Steve Grasso is long QCOM; Steve Grasso is long S; Steve Grasso is long ASTM; Steve Grasso is long POT; Steve Grasso is long DECK; Steve Grasso is long DHI; Steve Grasso is long EEM.

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