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Bebo announces 'Open Media' platform for audio and video content

The social network, which has achieved most of its success in the U.K., unveiled on Tuesday a new way for video and audio content providers to reach its 40 million members.

With dual announcements in New York and London on Tuesday, social networking site Bebo unveiled its "Open Media" platform, a way for media brands to build a presence in the community with music and video content.

Think of it as a sort of hybrid between MySpace's MySpaceTV portal and Facebook's new "pages" for companies. It's an "open platform" that can be joined without licensing agreements and charges no fee to content providers, but it's limited to entertainment content like video and music. According to a release from the company, this will offer the social network "thousands of hours of premium entertainment content from major global entertainment brands and emerging media companies."

With Open Media, Bebo members can create 'personal video profiles' in which they organize their favorite music and video content--this is somewhat akin to the playlist-centric model of media-sharing social network Imeem. Media companies, meanwhile, can create 'channel profiles' to make their content easier to find.

Bebo is based in San Francisco and boasts over 40 million members (Facebook currently stands at slightly over 50 million), but has made its greatest inroads among teenagers and young adults in the U.K. Consequently, at launch, Bebo's Open Media will feature content from a variety of U.S. and U.K. outlets: CBS, MTV, ESPN, the BBC, Channel Four, ITN and BSkyB, and online media companies like Next New Networks, Crackle, Ustream and JibJab.

Additionally, Bebo is a member of Google's OpenSocial initiative and has hinted at more announcements over the coming months--including a way to convert Facebook applications to its own widget platform.