AOL (NYSE: AOL) is taking more Bebo exec talent for its own team – a precursor to what may yet be a sale of the social net?
The latest: Kelly Sweeney, who- as Bebo’s head of original video productions – commissioned shows like The Gap Year and Sofia’s Diary for the site, is now becoming director of video for AOL Europe.
Bebo’s European VP and MD Kate Burns was upped to run AOL’s European ad sales ops in July, replacing AOL UK MD Michael Steckler as well as Platform-A international head Brendan Condon.
Bebo froze original web TV commissions last year amid AOL’s cutbacks. Bebo itself has been de-emphasised in AOL’s portfolio, following its $850 million acquisition, and now sits in an AOL Ventures unit.
AOL’s media and marketing president David Shing, in the announcement says: “Video is a key focus for AOL this year.” But it’s unclear what that means. AOL is making a big play now of being a vertical content publisher. AOL Video UK is pretty low-profile so far – running clips from a small number of outside video publishers; but it can’t be that popular; front-page ads are all for AOL’s own properties.
Sweeney will manage these third party partnerships, and looks like she will also get to do original productions again. AOL tells paidContent:UK: “AOL has always been involved in original video productions (especially in the music space, with AOL Sessions and Live Events), however we are definitely looking to strengthen our involvement in this area throughout 2010.”