YouTube goes pro – buys Next New Networks for US$50m

8 Mar 2011

Video site YouTube, which is incidentally the world’s second-largest search engine after Google, has taken its first real steps into producing its own professional content, having acquired Next New Networks for an estimated US$50m.

Next New Networks produces original programmes and helps content creators distribute films and make money.

YouTube intends to build upon the platform and open it up to content partners. Next New Networks attracts 2bn views a month.

Monetising video online

The move could be instrumental in enabling YouTube partners to monetise online and also help the video site face off competition from popular video service rivals like Hulu, iTunes and NetFlix.

The move also signals a potential move away from the short videos that characterise most of YouTube’s content in the direction of content people will watch for hours on end, such as movies and documentaries.

“To date, that programming has been viewed over 2bn times and built a following of more than 6m subscribers. A big part of that growth has been the more than 60 independent producers who have partnered with us as part of the Next New Creators program, including popular YouTube partners such as The Gregory Brothers, Hot for Words, and Nalts, in addition to the ongoing growth of networks like Barely Political (home of Obama Girl and “The Key of Awesome”), Indy Mogul, ThreadBanger and Fast Lane Daily.

“While our team will continue to work out of our offices here in New York as the YouTube Next Lab and Audience Development Group, I’ll be stepping down from a rewarding stint as the company’s CEO and continue producing cartoons from my company, Frederator Studios.

“Our popular cartoon network, Channel Frederator, will continue its partnership with YouTube, and I’m looking forward to a close and fruitful relationship with the company personally and professionally. Our current chairman, Lance Podell, will also be joining the YouTube Next team as global head for the group,” Seibert said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years