Viacom looking to acquire social networking site Bebo

MUMBAI: In a bid to connect better with youth US media firms are looking to buy social networking sites. Last year, News Corp plonked down $580 million for MySpace.

Now media reports indicate that Viacom is looking to acquire Bebo, a social networking site. In the UK, reports indicate that it has overtaken MySpace. In the US, though it has fewer users. It has 25 million users globally compared to around 90 million for MySpace.

On Bebo, members can stay in touch with their college friends, connect with friends, share photos, discover new interests and just hang out. Reports indicate that it also provides video sharing (via VideoEgg widgets) and built-in Skype presence. While the designs may be more controlled than MySpace pages, most of Bebo’s success seems to arise from network effects - users join Bebo because everyone else is using the site.

The founders of Bebo are said to be looking at upwards of a billion dollars. British Telecom's offer of around $400 million was reportedly turned down. For the week ending 5 August, Bebo was the most visited social network in the UK, and its market share of visits has grown 17 per cent in the past two weeks. 1 in every 135 UK visits goes to Bebo, which is now the 11th most visited site on the Internet. Viacom was also said to have been looking at one stage to acquire Facebook the second largest social networking site in the US.

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