Big Flower Eyes Internet Market, Invests in 24/7

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Looking for new ways to deliver advertising messages, Big Flower Holdings Inc. has turned to the Internet by making a strategic investment in newly formed online advertiser 24/7 Media Inc.


Although details of last week's investment were not disclosed, Big Flower, whose operating units generated $1.6 billion in sales last year, is expected to significantly expand the client roster of 24/7, New York. 24/7 provides advertising sales and services for more than 100 Web sites, including AT&T WorldNet, Comedy Central, Reader's Digest, Rolling Stone, Fox News and Better Homes and Gardens Online.


Through the investment, Big Flower, New York, which already maintains an Internet presence designing Web sites and software through subsidiaries TC Advertising and Laser Tech Color, gains a foothold in an Internet advertising market that, according to Jupiter Communications, grew from $55 million in 1995 to more than $1 billion last year.


"It's an exciting and growing type of industry. We see a lot of opportunity to extend client relationships and the ability to cross-sell,'' said Big Flower spokeswoman Nancy Murray. "Clients today want a good solid media mix of print, electronic and Internet.''


24/7, which was formed in February through the combination of Petry Interactive Inc., Katz Millennium Marketing and Interactive Imaginations Inc., is considered the third-largest player in Internet advertising behind Softbank Interactive and DoubleClickDirect. The investment should strengthen that position.


"We expect that the relationship will provide 24/7 with new opportunities to help us in building our business,'' said David Moore, 24/7 CEO. "Laser Tech Color's digital asset archiving systems are attractive to many of our customers who need powerful software to manage images needed for their Web sites. In addition, TC Advertising's Secure-Tran Web Systems offers us an exciting opportunity to expand into retail, a new category of business for our company.''

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