Bebo, Open Media & Its Broadband Advantage

13 Comments

[qi:012] Bebo, another one of the fast-growing social networks out there, might be a U.S. company, but its roots are firmly planted in broadband-heavy Europe. Taking advantage of faster broadband in its core markets — the UK and parts of Europe — the company has announced a smart new Open Media platform strategy.

Open Media creates an entirely new user experience for Bebo members with the introduction of the ‘Personal Video Profile.’ A multi-dimensional user experience allows members to curate their favorite videos within their Bebo profile, which is customizable to reflect personal tastes as well as the interests of friends.

Open Media offers users access to a lineup of high-quality programs from professional broadcasters, independent producers and other rights owners, enhancing Bebo’s already-rich archive of user-generated content.

Bebo is popular in the UK and Ireland, two regions with 15 million broadband connections between them, accounting for roughly 25 percent of Bebo’s 40 million-strong member community. Nevertheless, to call Open Media a platform is overstating the case. I mean, come on people, now we’re calling content partnerships a platform?

Still, they are bringing a lot of content to their social network. While it might seem that Bebo is partnering with old media, the fact of the matter is that people like TV. So Bebo is giving them old TV — via a new distribution channel.

Faster speeds mean its network members can consume video, audio and digital content more effectively in big gulps. It is a smart strategy from a company that knows who its customers are, how they connect and what their needs are. And with this move, the company also distinguishes itself from Facebook and MySpace, two leviathans in the social networking domain.

Frankly, I am not at all surprised that Bebo has made this move and roped in partners as diverse as CBS, Ministry of Sound and BSkyB. They have been partnering with independent content producers for a while. They signed up Kate Modern, for example, a series created by the folks behind LonelyGirl15.

To some extent, the folks at MySpace recognize that the social networks are the NewTeeVee Networks, and have been bulking up on content partnerships as well. It will be one of topics we are hoping to discuss at our NewTeeVee Live conference tomorrow.

13 Comments

Alex Beevers

If you are not capitalizing from a Social Media network to advertise your products and services online, you are missing so many great chances over the internet. The truth is that progressively people are using Media Networks when they want to be informed, amused, or when they are simply passing time. It is best to promote your Media on various online distribution channels; you’ll better your opportunities of getting even more people to your website. Take a look at Adbizniz.com thats very affordable.

Frank Sinton

Om – this sounds like the same system that Mefeedia has had for 2 years. Except there are no gate keepers. “Quality” is objective. We let users decide. Your friends act as your filter.

I’m subscribed to 260 MediaRSS feeds on Mefeedia because I want to be and no one is choosing which feeds i can watch and witch ones i can’t. I can add any MediaRSS feed that is available from a vlogger, the Wall Street Journal, Youtube users – whoever. 100% open and 100% of the video ad revenue goes to the source.

Jose Hernandez

Om, great summary.

Ta address a few comments:

Broadband still does suck in Ireland as Damien pointed out. Bebo is probably so popular there because it is sickeningly fast.

The “Open” and “Platform” bits really come into play after a whitelist process. Anyone can apply to be a “Media Partner”. To be approved as a partner, all you need is quality content that you own the rights to. Once a Media Partner is approved, they can create multiple content “channel” profiles, (similar to a group).

Each channel can be mapped 1-to-1 with a Media RSS feed. When the feed is ingested, it is converted into a video playlist on the channel profile. We pull object/embeds and thumbnails and a few other pieces of metadata and store them in our database. Bebo does not transfer, store or transcode any video at all, but relies entirely on other companies to provide that functionality, much like it already does with VideoEgg. So that’s it, if you have a feed you can syndicate it straight into the Bebo experience and take advantage of all the marketing richness of a social network. Bebo still makes its money the same way as it did before – by selling ads on the site.

Here’s the really cool part -an approved partner can use any player they want from any site – so long as they can roll it into a bebo-flavored MRSS feed.

Om, I would be happy to give you a more detailed walk-through of the Bebo Open Media Platform and its partners at the NewTeeVee conference tomorrow if I can make it.

~jose

Frank Sinton

I do give them credit for the direction. Social media is the future and social networks are tuning into that.

I’d love a more detailed analysis on all of these content deals and WHAT content is actually being made available. A lot of them already offer a ton of content available via MediaRSS.

Damien Mulley

Eh Om, broadband in Ireland still sucks, with half the net users on dialup. There are way more people on Bebo in Ireland than there are on broadband. 650k on broadband, 1.1m on Bebo.

Om Malik

I think to call this a platform is a stretch. anyway at least they are aware of how and how their users are. i give them full marks for that. what do you think frank?

Frank Sinton

“Open Platform” – what? How is this open? And a platform?

I do agree that social networks are really going to become more and more “social media networks”. I’m glad the market is finally catching up to us. :)

-Frank
CEO, Mefeedia

http://www.mefeedia.com – What are you watching?

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