NEW YORK: US publishing giants Cygnus Business Media, Reed Elsevier, McGraw-Hill and Nielsen Business Media are joining forces to launch an online advertising network aimed at brand marketers normally seen as beyond the reach of business-to-business publications.

The new BBN network will represent the hundreds of trade publications produced by the four companies, and reach an estimated audience of ten million users, including some six million small businesses.

BBN will be an independent company, but will consult the publishing groups about identifying potential advertisers, with targets expected to include the financial services and technology sectors. 

Derek Reisfield, chairman of BBN, and formerly of broadcaster CBS, said: "It will attract people into the B2B category that, for a variety of reasons, didn't feel it provides a solution for them. We now have a broad reach net with an attractive audience.” 

Web marketing company 24/7 Media – part of WPP Group – will provide the technology for the service, while BBN itself will not pitch for campaigns in order to avoid any potential channel conflict.

Some analysts see the venture as an effort to offset falling print advertising revenues, as well as providing a system to combat online audience fragmentation by using a variety of sites.

Nielsen Business Media recently made a tranche of staff cuts, while Reed Elsevier has previously announced plans to sell its business publishing arm.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff