WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hy-Vee Food Stores debuted earlier this month the PharmaSee TV in-store pharmacy network at some of its 105 supermarket pharmacies slated to get the system, confirmed company officials.
Additionally, 27 Drug Town units, the retailer's freestanding drug store format, will get the health and lifestyle information programming. The rollout, which places monitors in pharmacy departments, is expected to take up to 90 days to complete.
"This helps strengthen the identification of Hy-Vee as a source for health information," said Ruth Mitchell, spokeswoman for the retailer. "It also gives customers something to look at or something to do while they might be waiting a few minutes for a prescription."
Hy-Vee here has become the first traditional grocery chain to roll out RMS Networks' PharmaSee TV, according to Sam Ambrose, vice president, marketing and retailer partnerships for the supplier, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In addition to the Hy-Vee roll out, RMS is supplying the same system for a pilot program in five of Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's Sav-on Drugs units.
RMS Networks tailors the in-store television network to display pharmacy content. The system uses a digital signal that carries a two-hour loop of half-hour segments during operating hours. The ratio of editorial content to advertising in each segment is 20 minutes edit to 10 minutes advertising, said Ambrose. About 60% of the non-advertising content is produced by RMS and the rest is provided by CNN and E! Entertainment Television, according to Ambrose. Segments include "Ask the Pharmacist," tips on battling influenza, health-related news and beauty features.
"We look at it as another way that we can provide information to our customers and help them in the process of managing their own health," said Mitchell, in addition to relying on Hy-Vee pharmacists for health-related information.
Explained Ambrose, "This positions Hy-Vee as a leader in their own marketplace in giving this type of information to their consumers. And for advertisers, it helps create brand distinction right at point of sale. The retailer ultimately turns out to be the winner because they can increase sales as a result of it."
Some of the pharmaceutical advertisers include Astra Zeneca, London, and Schering Plough, Madison N.J., as well as the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Arlington Heights, Ill.
Hearing the all-day programming, store level associates "learn by osmosis," thus becoming educated about the products and information, Ambrose pointed out. This enables them to give sales recommendations to customers.
RMS, whose traditional clients are independent drug stores and small drug chains, says it has begun to expand into larger accounts. In addition to the Hy-Vee and Albertson's programs, there are talks with other food retailers to install the system, according to Ambrose. "There are even talks about chain-specific programming. Some retailers are asking us to create television networks just for their own environment."
Mitchell noted that the Hy-Vee program is not retailer specific but "we are one of their larger clients, so they are up for input about things we would like to see."