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ITV plugs in with Bebo, but digitally still dancing on ice
March 10, 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: BBC, Bebo, Friends Reunited, iPlayer, ITV, online TV, social media, TV | Tags: , , , , ,

Holly WilloughbyBeleaguered British broadcaster ITV is peddling fast to catch up with the rest of the digital world by announcing a deal this morning with Bebo to show its ITV2 programming on the social network. The move comes as ITV struggles with a decline in global content revenues and Michael Grade is increasingly waking up to online as the new distribution channel, but anything ITV has produced in terms of its online video player thus far lags so far behind rival BBC’s iPlayer.

The Bebo deal is interesting on a number of fronts – it’s cheap and arguably quick to deploy as a bandage measure to help stem ITV’s hemorrhaging younger viewers – an increasing number of which are getting all the broadcast content they want online and on-demand. Secondly, given that ITV owns Friends Reunited, you have to ask why it chose someone else’s social network as a digital route to market… 

Despite insisting he is ahead of where he expected to be, ITV’s shares have fallen more than 20 per cent since the start of the year as Michael Grade struggles to turn the corporation’s fortunes around, and to clearly articulate the corporation’s digital strategy. Let’s hope when it is finally revealed it is not ‘digital on ice’… and in the meantime Holly Willoughby can continue to keep ITV’s weekend end up, but for how much longer?

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