ITV to make programming available via Bebo

LONDON - ITV has signed a deal with Bebo to show television programmes on the social networking website.

The deal will begin with the US import 'Gossip Girl', which screens on ITV2. The programme is being hosted at bebo.com/gossipgirl, and it is the first time ITV has made a full-length programme online via a third-party site.

It is being made available via Bebo's Open Media initiative, which lets broadcasters use their own content and media players on the site, and allows them to sell their own advertising around the content.

Other channels planned for rollout later to include ITV2 Comedy shows. Each channel will be branded with programme-specific 'skins' designed by itv.com. Users may adopt or use the programme 'skins' and content from ITV's Bebo profiles on their profiles.

Annelies Van den Belt, managing director of ITV Broadband, said: "This is a targeted move to promote specific ITV2 shows to the Bebo audience whilst ultimately driving traffic to itv.com to watch more and proves true 360 commissioning."

ITN has already signed up as the worldwide news partner with its own showbiz and sports channel on the site. Other broadcasters to have channels include Spike TV, Yahoo!, which shows music videos, and JibJab.

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