Multiply, ABS-CBN sign online marketing deal

Social networking site Multiply.com inks deal with multimedia unit of largest Philippine broadcast group, ABS-CBN Interactive, to boost online advertising revenue.

PHILIPPINES--Social networking site Multiply.com has signed an exclusive marketing deal with ABS-CBN Interactive aimed at churning more online advertising revenue.

During a briefing and formal launch Wednesday, Multiply.com's founder and president Peter Pezaris said the deal "leverage" a database of more than 2.2 million Filipinos currently signed up and using the social networking site.

The new partnership between Multiply.com and ABS-CBN Interactive will focus on generating revenues out of online advertisements, initially targeted at Filipinos. ABS-CBN Interactive is the multimedia media unit of ABS-CBN, the biggest broadcast group in the Philippines.

Pezaris said: "The Multiply site has more than 9 million users. Of this, some 2.2 million are Filipinos. We see this as a great opportunity for us and ABS-CBN Interactive."

The deal is purely a marketing agreement, he said, noting that Multiply.com is not establishing a Philippine office or local subsidiary.

While U.S.-based Mutiply.com is not the first social networking site in the market, it gained popularity because of its blogging application and easy-to-use features allowing members to share files, particularly photos and videos, Pezaris said.

Aside from file-sharing, he added, the company has also seen a growing number of Filipino users tapping the site to sell items.

He said this is one area of interest for Multiply.com and ABS-CBN Interactive, but declined to disclose details.

According to Paolo Pineda, managing director of ABS-CBN, the partnership has generated interests from a wide array of potential advertisers, from mobile carriers to consumer electronics companies.

Companies including Globe Telecom, PeopleSupport, Nokia and Sony, have already signed up as advertisers, Pineda said.

He added that ABS-CBN Interactive does not customize the look and feel of the social networking site to cater to local users, but it has add-on tools to ensure local online ads will not be read by users outside the country.

"It's a 50-50 goal for us, [divided between] selling online ads and building more communities of Filipinos through the Multiply site," Pineda said.

He added that ABS-CBN Interactive will also eventually "link" Multiply.com with other sites that ABS-CBN Interactive currently manages, including its news and games sites.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.

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