Elisabeth Murdoch, Joanna Shields team up

Launch new digital online production entity

CAMBRIDGE -- Shine CEO Elisabeth Murdoch said Thursday she was teaming up with former Bebo president and CEO Joanna Shields to launch a new digital entertainment and format company aiming to fuse Shield's track record in social media engagement with Shine's content and distribution strengths.

Shields will be CEO of the new -- as yet unnamed -- venture, effective Oct. 1, and will join Shine Group's advisory board. The company will operate under the Shine Group umbrella and signals a major move into online production.

Financial details of the investment behind the partnership were not disclosed but the partners said they "will pursue a strategy of investment, development and cross-discipline partnerships," with the ambition of fusing television production with social media, as well as driving online exploitation of Shine Group content.

Shields was most recently chief executive of Bebo and president of AOL's social media and communications division. At Bebo she pioneered online low-cost drama in the form of KateModern, which amassed over 67 million views, and "Sofia's Diary" which made the transition to U.K. television.

She joined AOL after spearheading the successful acquisition of Bebo for $850 million in early 2008, leaving in June to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.

"To grow as a content company it is vital to venture beyond the traditional approaches to television and online media that so quickly date, and there is nobody better placed to explore this with than Joanna," said Murdoch.

"Her ability to read trends and identify the opportunities they present, make her a natural and proven entrepreneur and peerless within digital media. I am thrilled to partner with her to build something creative and meaningful."