The FINANCIAL — AOL People Networks on March 9 announced the launch of its Bebo U.S. Latino site, and opened its doors to Hearst Magazines Digital Media, a unit of Hearst Magazines, and AOL’s bilingual portal for U.S. Hispanics, AOL Latino.
Bebo is a social experience that helps individuals discover what's going on with their world and helps the world discover what’s going on with them. Bebo’s Lifestream platform affords users a simple way to connect and keep up with everyone and everything they care about irrespective of which medium they use or where the activity takes place, be it on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or another site.
Customized for the U.S. Latino audience, the new site marks Bebo’s continued expansion into new markets. Bebo has already gained a strong following as a social experience in the U.K., U.S., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Poland with more than 22 million unique visitors worldwide.
“Expanding into new markets is a key pillar of our growth strategy, and we see huge potential for the growing Latino audience in the U.S. Our platform allows users to connect with other users, entertainment and brands, both globally and locally. The richness of our experience lies in the user’s ability to express him or herself – as evidenced in our new Lifestory feature – and in the ability to connect to people, media and brands through the Lifestream and our Open Media Platform,” said Nicole Vanderbilt, VP International, Bebo.
On Bebo, users connect with both existing friends and with other users who share common interests and similar tastes. Through the Open Media platform and the Lifestream, they can discover and share the media they love wherever it lives. With its expansion into this important market, the social network is adding several channels of premium entertainment content from major local and global entertainment brands and emerging media companies.
Bebo’s new media partners for its U.S. Latino site, include Hearst Magazines Digital Media and AOL Latino, which will be incorporated in Bebo’s groundbreaking Open Media platform. AOL Latino will allow users (http://www.aollatino.com) easy access to a plethora of the latest in music and entertainment, while Hearst Magazines Digital Media will contribute videos, photo galleries, polls, quizzes, surveys and other top-quality interactive content syndicated from MisQuinceMag.com, Hearst’s comprehensive resource for Latina teens planning their quinceañeras. The majority of this content has been created by the site’s team of experts, including a blog from the fairy godmother of quinceañeras, Isabella Wall (http://www.bebo.com/mis_quince).
"Our team is excited to be working with Bebo on its launch for the U.S. Latino market and extending the strong partnership we already have with AOL," said Christopher Johnson, VP, content and business development, Hearst Magazines Digital Media. "Combining Misquincemag.com’s expert content with Bebo's popular social experience platform enables us to reach a new generation of young Latina women.”
Bebo’s U.S. Latino site will also feature premium entertainment content from AOL Latino, the bilingual portal for U.S. Hispanics that offers comprehensive Spanish language products and services including U.S. and Latin American news, financial tools, the latest in music and entertainment, personal finance, sports, fashion and beauty.
Miguel Ferrer, Director of AOL Latino, said: “Our audience increasingly seeks greater access to their favorite music and entertainment programming. At a time when users can connect with content on any screen, anywhere and at the time of their choosing, Bebo's Open Media platform allows us to distribute our original content in an environment where consumers can discover and easily engage with others around the content they love, wherever it lives.”
To increase viral opportunities for media owners and publishers, Bebo has created a "Share on Bebo” button for publisher sites, making it simple to implement and creating a two-way conversation between the publisher and Bebo platform. When a user shares their favourite media content, a status update will appear in the users "sayings" and in their "Lifestream”, virally spreading the news to their entire network and driving traffic back to the media owner or publisher.
Bebo forms the centrepiece of the AOL People Networks business unit. People Networks' collection of community platforms help improve people’s lives by connecting them with everyone and everything they care about. People Networks does this through a web-based experience on Bebo.com, through desktop clients and mobile devices. At the heart of People Networks is the Lifestream, a real-time platform for aggregating and distributing social feeds across mediums.
The launch of Bebo’s U.S. Latino platform is in conjunction with the launch of AOL Latino’s Spanish-language resource TecnoPadres.com, http://www.tecnopadres.com. This simultaneous launch further shows the integration of content across the three core businesses of AOL – MediaGlow, People Networks and Platform-A – and extends the reach of Bebo to AOL Latino consumers.