A third-generation medical publisher, and first-generation medical communications provider, Mike Hennessy Jr. grew up around the family’s legacy company, MJH Associates, Inc. After acquiring assets from UBM earlier this year, the company—now MJH Life Sciences™—became the largest privately owned medical media company in North America. PM360 spoke with Mike about the acquisition, how it has grown the company’s offerings, and the importance of good partnerships, family, and focused dedication to providing the highest quality content in a multitude of formats to improve patient care worldwide.
PM360: With your recent acquisition of UBM Life Sciences, your company became the largest, privately held medical media company in the country. Why you decided to acquire UBM Life Sciences?
Mike Hennessy Jr.: When MJH Life Sciences was established in 1998, our singular vision was, and remains, to share health and expert knowledge broadly to improve care. We carry on that mission across a multitude of specialties, which the UBM acquisition has allowed us to do. UBM, which had already acquired Advanstar, is a company that we respected for many years, and now is a part of MJH Life Sciences.
This acquisition provided us with a multitude of media arms that reached into marketplaces we had not yet dipped our toe into, but wanted to. Expanding through acquisition rather than by launching new titles—which we’ve historically done many times—we thought it might be quicker to move with such leading marketplace titles.
Yes, and with that in mind, I’ve heard you talk about the power of partnerships. Can you address that?
Partnerships have been a key driver. One of the most powerful partnerships we’ve been able to create is with the right thought leaders. Our audiences want to hear from healthcare professionals who are the most knowledgeable, influential individuals. Working with the right partners, the right institutions, the right thought leaders is, ultimately, what provides our audiences with the most credible products. It’s crucial to moving our business forward.
How have the new assets expanded your offerings?
We looked at the acquisition in three distinct areas. One key area was animal health. We were already in this market with our American Veterinarian title, but the UBM acquisition allowed us to secure the market leader, DVM360. That gave us the opportunity to provide veterinarians and vet techs with a look at the multimedia offerings MJH provided within the DVM properties.
The second is healthcare—the most closely aligned with the legacy MJH business. We could now reach into a wealth of new marketplaces such as urology, with Urology Times; psychiatry, with Psychiatry Times; as well as Managed Healthcare Executive; Medical Economics; Ophthalmology Times; and Optometry Times.
The third area is industry sciences. Here we’re able to work with researchers, scientists, and even the C-suite on everything from pharmaceutical manufacturing to turbomachinery—a market I never thought we would be in!
What you would like people to know about your inspirations, your goals?
We’re guided by the twin principles of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, and are dedicated to improving the quality of life through healthcare communications, education, and research.
One of our key motivators is improving patient care. Back in 2011, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was BRCA-positive, which is a genetic mutation. For us, that was a key mover, a wake-up call. We wanted to become more knowledgeable and help physicians become more knowledgeable in their daily practice, ultimately to provide patients with the best care.
So how do you approach keeping your audiences up to speed?
We work with very well-educated, respected audiences—the pharmacist, the physician, the payer executives—as well as patients, and so we write relevant, high-quality content to match the literacy level of our audiences. And today, everyone wants information at their fingertips—immediately—so they can search and find what they need quickly.
Consumer behavior has also shifted so much, we felt responsible to provide content in a variety of formats. One of our core business areas—our beginnings—has always been print publications and we haven’t shifted away. We still feel it’s an important part of our business as most of our audiences tend to be in their mid-fifties and constantly on the go. They form the trusted audience who like that print piece.
At the same time, young, up-and-coming physicians, executives, and pharmacists like information provided digitally, from a video format, from a podcast format—and we provide that—at many live events, as well. We look at media and content as a host of approaches to be taken.
Great. Where do you see your company five years from now?
Our goal is to become the largest medical media communications company in the world. While we’ve made great strides, we certainly have our work cut out for us to expand offerings within each marketplace—to truly become an integrated shop that our customers know they can rely on for numerous needs.
So we look at our company within two distinct divisions—our multimedia business, and our life sciences agency service, both of which maintain dedication to improving human and animal healthcare. That’s our mission—improving the quality of life for patients throughout the world.