Still coming down off the high of selling its assets to AOL for a cool US$850 million in March, UK-based social networking site Bebo has used the momentum to ink some really big deals that may open the door for content producers that target tweens and young teens, as well as broadcasters looking to ride the interactive programming wave.
First off, the hub has hooked up with Brightcove to offer the State-side internet-TV platform developer’s clients access to its Open Media technology. ITV and Channel 4 were quick to step up to the plate and join early supporters such as BBC and MTV in syndicating their video content on the site. ITV is running a show-centric channel on Bebo that offers up episodes of CW prime-timer Gossip Girl (www.bebo.com/gossipgirl), and the two companies will share ad revenue from on-site advertising and spots that air before and after the episodes.
But content is starting to flow the other way as well, with Channel Five in the UK picking up Bebo’s interactive teen soap Sofia’s Diary, which strips throughout the week in three-minute episodes on just-launched digital channel Fiver. The drama was originally created as a clip-based web and mobile offering by Portugese studio BeActive, and then was redeveloped for a TV launch on RTP in Portugal before rolling out in seven other countries, including the US. Bebo commissioned the UK version of the drama from Sony Television Pictures International.
Bebo has more than 40 million users worldwide; and in the UK, 18% of the site’s unique users from the region are 12- to 17-year-olds, according to Nielsen Online’s March 2008 UK NetView report.