Bebo opens platform to media players

Bebo yesterday announced partnerships with several media companies, giving them free and open access to its 40 million-strong community.

The social networking site's Open Media initiative allows broadcasters such as BBC, SKY, ITN and CBS to use their own media players on their site and sell their own advertising around the content.

Bebo's move echoes Facebook opening up its platform in May, allowing developers to add applications and utilities and make money from related advertising profits.

"We're revolutionising the way media companies can reach audiences online ... particularly the hard-to-reach youth demographic," said Joanna Shields, president of Bebo.

Bebo unveiled a new look yesterday, positioning itself as an entertainment destination. The site has also signed up ITN as its worldwide news partner for the launch of Open Media.

ITN is launching its own player on the service with showbiz, sports and entertainment content, funded by pre-roll advertising.

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