Bebo extends social network across Europe

Bebo is launching local-language versions of the social networking site in five European countries, offering premium video content via media partners.

Bebo is launching local-language versions of its social networking site in five European countries, offering premium video content via media partners, the company said Monday.

Bebo will offer sites in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch as it seeks to enlarge its user base. It also plans to leverage its Open Media technology, which allows media companies to distribute content on Bebo's network.

Bebo was bought by AOL in March 2008 for US$850 million as part of AOL's plan to move away from being an ISP and more of an advertising-focused content provider.

Bebo has been strongest in the U.K. market and has about 22 million unique visitors per month, according to January figures from ComScore, However, Bebo lags in user numbers behind social networking giants Facebook and MySpace.

One of Bebo's content providers is AlloCine, which will launch four channels for the U.K. and four other channels aimed at continental Europe. The channels will have films and other programs, Bebo said.

In Germany, Bebo is partnering with Clipfish, a video portal. Channels will include video horoscopes, celebrity interviews and reviews of major German movie releases.

Another media partner, Filmtrailer, will supply Hollywood films in local languages for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Bebo is also planning to let media partners put a button on their sites that lets users share content on their profiles. Shared content triggers a new status update on a profile, which notifies their friends and potentially drives hits back to those publisher sites.

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