CNET's BNET digs into new sectors, goes overseas

NEW YORK, April 15 Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:00am EDT

NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) - Online media company CNET Networks Inc (CNET.O), which is fighting a dissident shareholder group, is digging deeper into business coverage with plans to debut in-depth news and information on 11 industry sectors on its business manager Web site BNET.com.

The company said on Tuesday that it will launch BNET Industries (industry.bnet.com), a free compilation of original news, blogs and analysis as well as news from various content partners, to cover subjects such as health care, media, financial services, food, energy and travel.

CNET also said that BNET will debut local Web sites for Australia and the United Kingdom at www.bnetau.com.au and www.bnet.co.uk.

BNET Industries is designed to give business managers information that can be hard to locate in one place, said Greg Mason, CNET's senior vice president of the business media group.

"You look at a lot of the content that's available, it still predominantly lives in trade journal articles," he said. "And then there's a lot of content that's sort of housed behind subscription firewalls. And so, consequently, it's very fragmented."

There are good online newsletters that cover specific industries, he said, "but they're sort of hit-or-miss."

BNET Industries will feature content from about 15 bloggers, including former Wall Street Journal health-care and pharmaceutical reporter David Hamilton, Mason said.

The site will include information on more than 9,000 public companies, including business sector information, e-mail and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) alerts and blogs. News and analysis also will come from partners such as Mergent, StrategyEye, Seeking Alpha and Reuters Group PLC RTR.L.

Mason declined to discuss financial details, but said that it would be free and supported by advertising.

BNET has included advertising from Adobe, American Express, Bank of America, Microsoft and others. Two automakers, whom he declined to name, have recently signed to the site as well, he said. That site features stories and tips for managers across a variety of workplaces, such as "Secrets to Successful Telecommuting" and "Teach Employees to Think Like Gamers."

BNET Industries' launch comes as CNET faces an attempt by a group of activist investors to win control of CNET's board. Led by hedge fund Jana Partners, the group claims that the company's management lacks the expertise to turn CNET into a modern Internet company.

CNET's shares have fallen more than 11 percent in the past year, and the company said last month that it would cut 120 jobs -- or 10 percent of its staff -- in a restructuring to help it focus on long-term growth. (Editing by Gary Hill)

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