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Media groups launch Japan advertising network

TOKYO, Feb 12 – Media groups in Japan including the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and Jiji Press said Thursday they were launching an Internet advertising network amid a tough spell for the news industry.

Other participating media outlets include AFPBB, an interactive website involving Agence France-Presse and technology company Creative Link; Canada\’s Thomson Reuters, CNN and the websites of three leading financial magazines.

The media groups will coordinate to sell advertisements together across thousands of websites through the alliance, called the Premium Business Ad Network.

The network, which will be channeled through Japanese Internet service provider So-net Media Networks Corporation, will be launched in April.

The network aims to reach 30 million businesspeople or other high-income people in the first year, generating sales of 300 million yen (3.3 million dollars), the companies said.

"Traditional media are in a pretty severe period right now… but I hope that we will overcome the rivalry," said Hiromi Onishi, digital media manager for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan\’s second-largest newspaper.

Thomson Reuters media manager Kenichiro Kusuyama said the alliance did not intend to pit itself against major Internet sites such as Yahoo and Google.

"Rather, we intend to pursue an online strategy of having a network of specialised websites that will offer quality content to businessmen," he said.

While Japanese newspapers have not seen the mass layoffs of their counterparts in the United States, the industry is facing changes as more readers turn to the Internet and mobile telephones.

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