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Teen virtual world goes Hollywood

Habbo builds on its latest partnership with Paramount Digital by inking a deal with Hollywood's largest talent agency, the William Morris Agency.

Habbo, a virtual world for teens, signed a deal with the William Morris Agency, one of Hollywood's oldest and largest talent agencies. As part of the deal, WMA will promote its celebrity sports and entertainment clients within the digital world and help Habbo forge new promotional partnerships in Hollywood.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the two companies will likely seek shared revenue by selling virtual goods to teens. Habbo, which is run by Finland-based Sulake Corp., draws as many as 8 million teen visitors from around the world, with 1.3 million coming from the United States, according to the company.

The agreement comes on the heels of a partnership with the movie studio Paramount Digital. Under that deal, Habbo will promote virtual characters and merchandise from Paramount films, including Beowulf, Mean Girls, and the upcoming The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Those kinds of promotions could grow exponentially with the WMA deal, raising questions for parenting advocates about the commercialization of virtual worlds targeted at teens. Still, WMA sees it as a positive.

"William Morris' Digital Group will be a key partner helping Habbo develop ideal business and marketing opportunities with the leaders of the entertainment industry," Jim Wiatt, chairman and CEO of WMA, said in a statement.