The social networking wars are pretty intense these days. Bebo, the global social site popular in the U.K. and Ireland, is differentiating itself from MySpace, Facebook, and the Google Open Social effort by aligning with TV, film, and music companies.
Bebo announced today Open Media, a new “platform” that gives users the ability to add top-shelf video and music content to their profile pages and share it with others on the network. They become “fans” of a series the same way they can add people as “friends.”
At the same time, Bebo is allowing its diverse content partners like the BBC, CBS, Channel 4, ESPN, Ministry of Sound, MTV Networks, Turner, Ustream, and Yahoo! to use their video players to distribute their content and retain all of the advertising-related revenue.
“Every media company is looking for better ways to deliver their content online,” Bebo President Joanna Shields told Reuters. “By opening up our platform to media owners, who gain free access to our community while retaining control over their brand, their content, and their revenues, we are creating valuable new inventory for advertisers and a new business model for the entire media industry.”
Bebo claims 40 million people worldwide are a part of its community, with the bulk made up of people 13 to 24 years old — and those who consume and share all sorts of video and music content.
Bebo already produces original content with “LonelyGirl 15″ spin-off “Kate Modern”, “Sofia’s Diary”, and “The Gap Year”. Now Bebo wants to aggregate TV shows to improve the site’s “stickiness” and increase the value of its own advertising.
“Our audiences increasingly expect greater access to their favorite comedy, music and pop-culture programming,” said Greg Clayman, executive vice president of digital distribution for MTV Networks. “Bebo’s new Open Media platform allows us to distribute our content and our marketing partners’ messages in an environment where consumers can quickly and easily share it with others and forge even deeper communities around the programming they love.”