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“You should float,” I said. My client thought I was nuts. That was back in November 1999. I was going through various versions of the business plan. Then the company did not actually exist. The team was very much names on a page, other than the CEO and architect of the project, Joanne Sawicki. But the market was in the grip of e-fever, and here was a business model that even as a concept had all the right ingredients: first-mover advantage, a robust future-proof TV business model, content development and ownership, cross-media platforms embracing the web and digital television, and the potential to roll out across other new media delivery systems. The Channel Health project was to launch the first interactive health television channel in the UK and Europe aimed at the mass consumer market. The company floated on AIM eight months later, debt free, with a price tag of £20m and more than £5m in the bank. This is how the deal happened.

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