Bebo and ESPN (NYSE: DIS) have partnered to deliver sports video highlights to the teen-oriented social net, in what is one of its first significant US-centric deals since its acquisition by AOL (NYSE: TWX). The hookup sees ESPN add 21 new video channels to Bebo's OpenMedia platform, which lets media owners offer video that users can add to their profiles. Short-form clips are culled from shows like Mike And Mike In The Morning, Pardon The Interruption and Around The Horn; other action also goes to specific channels for college basketball, tennis, martial arts and more.
Users can adopt the skins from each show page as the theme for their own homepage. Bebo is still most popular in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, so this is one step to a bigger US ramp-up following its $850 million acquisition by AOL this year. AOL itself secured the online rights for ESPN video back in April. Contrary to reports, the ESPN videos are not proving to be limited to US viewers for me at least.
By Robert Andrews