Google Shifts Toward Content Creation With Purchase of Next New Networks

Next New Networks, YouTube

Web TV destination and production company Next New Networks has built its brand by scouting for talent on YouTube–but it looks like Google and YouTube may have been the one scouting NNN.

Today YouTube, which Fast Company profiled in our February issue, announced that it had acquired NNN in a deal that could turn YouTube from content host to content creator.

“Since launching in March 2007, the Next New Networks team has built a highly effective platform for developing, packaging and building audiences around original web video programming, attracting over 2 billion views and 6 million subscribers,” wrote Tom Pickett, director of global content operations, in a blog post. “Within YouTube, Next New Networks will be a laboratory for experimentation and innovation with the team working in a hands on way with a wide variety of content partners and emerging talent to help them succeed on YouTube.”

NNN, which was also a focus of our September issue on web TV, features more than a dozen channels of original shows and episodes, including Barely Political and the music parody series The Key of Awesome. According to the New York Times, Google spent less than $100 million acquiring NNN.

The purchase marks a shift toward original content creation for parent company Google. Competitors from Yahoo to AOL, which recently purchased The Huffington Post, have already ventured in this direction. With NNN, Google may become less reliant on user-generated content.

Still, YouTube is clear that it’s not interested in leaving its independent partners behind.

“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,” Pickett wrote. “The addition of the Next New Networks team doesn’t change that.”AC