YouTube buys Next New Networks, expands into video production

09/03/2011

YouTube has acquired online video content firm Next New Networks for an undisclosed sum, marking the Google-owned firm’s first foray into content production. YouTube also announced 'YouTube Next', a YouTube division aimed at accelerating partner growth, which will spearhead a series of YouTube Next-branded programs and services.

Next New Networks began in 2007 and is behind the Web comedy show Barely Political and the online cartoon network Channel Frederator. During the 2008 US presidential election, Barely Political won millions of online views of its comedy videos featuring "Obama Girl," a singing and dancing devotee of then presidential candidate Barack Obama.

09/03/2011

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Last year, Next New Networks scored another online video hit with its parody "Bed Intruder Song," which was the top viewed entry of 2010 at YouTube.

YouTube has sought to increase its share of professionally produced content as it faces competition from the likes of Hulu, a joint venture whose backers include media companies News Corp, Walt Disney Co's ABC, and NBC, controlled by General Electric.

Viacom Inc sued YouTube for $1 billion, accusing the video site of allowing copyrighted videos to play online without permission. Earlier this year, a New York federal judge threw out the lawsuit.

Fred Seibert, CEO and co-founder of Next New Networks, was a creative director at Viacom-owned MTV, but not when the company sued YouTube.

“At YouTube, we’re focused on building a great technology platform for creators, and so we leave the actual creation of great videos to the people who do it best: our partners,” adds Pickett. “This new group and the addition of the Next New Networks team doesn’t change that. But being a great platform for creators also means helping our partners get the tools and guidance they need to develop higher quality videos and drive bigger audiences to their work.”

YouTube says the YouTube Next team and programs will expand the company’s partner meet-ups and community events, increase investment in partner education and training and launch new capabilities in audience development.

Financial terms of the Next New Networks acquisition were not revealed.

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