ITV Inks Programme Deal with Social Networker Bebo

12 March 2008

LONDON: The UK's biggest commercial broadcaster ITV has hitched its wagon to the social networking star with a deal that will see a selection of its programmes shown on Bebo.

Its first offering will be US acquisition Gossip Girl - from its ITV2 digital channel - designed to best fit with the 13-24 demographic that flocks to Bebo.

ITV will also host a number of channels on the site promoting individual shows. Users will be encouraged to become a "fan" and will be notified when new content becomes available.

The deal forms part of ITV's strategy to increase digital revenues to £150 million ($302m; €196m) annually by 2010.

Declares Annelies Van den Belt, MD of broadband at the broadcaster: "This is a targeted move to promote specific ITV2 shows to the Bebo audience, whilst ultimately driving traffic to to watch more [content] ... true 360-degree commissioning."

ITV, led by executive chairman  Michael Grade, is the latest in a raft of major broadcasters signing-up to Bebo's Open Media service, launched in November.

They include the BBC, Channel 4 and BSkyB in the UK; and CBS, Turner and MTV in the US.

Grade , until now, has been reluctant to commit to deals that could potentially lose the broadcaster control of its content online. He has warned in the past that ITV must not make the same mistakes as the music industry.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff