The Latin Social Networking space is heating up. Bebo, a social networking site, which AOL bought in 2008 for $850 million today is launching a new version for the Latino Audience. Just two weeks ago Mio.TV bought Spanish Social Network Wamba.com.

Bebo is partnering with eight-year old sister network AOL Latino as well as Hearst Digital, which will provide video, photos, polls and various content from its MisQuinceMag.com site.

Content from AOL Latino will include selected bilingual news, music and entertainment, sport, fashion and beauty, all distributed through the site" open media platform' which lets content companies distribute content throughout the network and make money from related ads.

"Expanding into new markets is a key pillar of our growth strategy, and we see huge potential for the growing Latino audience in the US," said Bebo's vice president of international, Nicole Vanderbilt, told British Newspaper The Guardian.

Bebo pitches itself as the most media-focused social network with the aim of creating a more familiar environment for brands and advertisers. AOL will be keen to expand Bebo's current audience of 22 million monthly users by linking it to its existing US userbase, as well as its ad network.

Since its acquisition by AOL last year, Bebo has been rolled into a group at AOL called People Networks, which also includes interactive properties AIM, ICQ, SocialThing, Yedda, and Goowy Media. AOL, itself a unit of Time Warner, places strategic importance on its instant messaging systems AIM and ICQ. AIM has has 94 million global users.

Despite the advantages of AOL's established Latino audience, Bebo faces competition in an already crowded marketplace of more than a dozen social networks including QuePasa.com, MySpaceLatino, MioTV, MyGrito.com, LatinosConnected, MiGente and Salsalicio.us.


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