YouTube Plus “Next New Network” Equals “Huh?”

First- the disclaimers. I share in advertising revenue from YouTube. And I’m a content partner for Next New Networks, but not an employee or quite the size of these guys. I’m just some marketing clown with a video camera, no writing staff, but 175 million views. Big deal. My blog’s still ugly.

YouTube Rumored to Be Buying Next New Networks... Perplexing But Interesting

So I’m not privileged to any discussions between YouTube and Next New Networks, and know nothing more about the alleged acquisition than I’ve read here. While I have been aware of rumors of someone acquiring NNN for a couple months, I didn’t even seriously consider the possibility that Google/YouTube would buy it. So it was fresh news to me when I got a text from ZackScott today (he wanted to brag about his recent GoogleTV gift, and how he’s become a bigger sellout than me).

My thoughts on the potential of a deal. First, “Why It Makes Little Sense At First Glance”

  • YouTube took Google far out of its core competency (from search machine to platform)… Next New Networks is another dangerous stretch. A real stretch. I worked for an Internet agency that was accidentally purchased by a telecommunication firm. That kind of stretch.

I can only imagine some of the conversations between the right-coast, roight brained NNN gang and the left-coast, left-brained engineers. It could be like a toaster trying to talk to a boom box.

  • YouTube already has deals with many content creators, so I’m not sure what it’s getting beyond some bright leadership, a library of content to monetize in new ways, and some production/marketing experience.
  • The relationship is strong between YouTube and NNN, so how is this strategic enough to offset the perceptions that Google is now encroaching on the content space? Could this send the networks a signal that Google is now a competitor to networks and studios?

Why It Makes Great Sense

  • I’ve written before that Madison doesn’t like YouTube (click to read “How Madison Avenue is Killing YouTube“). And there needs to be a buffer between creators and agencies. NNN could play a valuable role in buffering agencies from touching the YouTube rose’s engineering thorns… if YouTube/Google allowed it.
  • The control of NNN content will give YouTube a sandbox to try new content-delivery models via phone, television and mobile. It’s a sandbox but with real humans.
  • There’s a name for this. It’s called vertical integration, and it can be healthy as long as it’s not creating a monopoly (which clearly isn’t the case here).  Owning a network can help YouTube engage with other networks more effectively. A simpler example: if I run a line of beauty products, its worth owning one salon… I get real-world experience that rivals laboratory R&D, and it can inform my products.
  • This provides YouTube a presence on the East Coast (where most of the budgets originate) that is more meaningful than a sales office. Sponsored content, I believe, will be bi-coastal.
  • It could be a step toward better content partnerships. CEO Fred Seibert is a producer of some of Cartoon Networks greatest shows, and a former MTV creative director. So he’s got some clout in the entertainment world that can make/break YouTube. Having network experience inside Google will help Google be less aggressive with the advertisers YouTube needs to court. Oh, and by the way… NNN is one of the few web studios that has endured the implosion of the “New Establishment” (the name I used in my book to refer to emerging studios).

I think I sufficiently hedged this post so that I retain rights to say “I told you so” if this deal is a great success, and hires me… or if it flops insanely.

What do you think? Or don’t you care? See this is my  problem… when amazing news like this breaks, nobody in my IRL circle cares. Folks at my client and in my family don’t give a rats ass, so I need to work it out here.

14 Replies to “YouTube Plus “Next New Network” Equals “Huh?””

  1. I think YouTube Needs to save its Disabled Partners First! Adsense is really cutting off INNOCENT Publishers. Is this a way to cut the lower part off so that Top Tubers Make More?? We Need HELP! I just want to make Better Video and Give back to the Community.

    YouTube needs to stay the “Distributor” and stay out of trying to create Content. NNN, really I know nothing, but was it sinking? First I heard of it it was when You, Nalts, got on it. Is this another way to Stifle Community? OR is this really away to Grow Community and Sustain better Content Creators. IDK!

  2. I, also talking to sellout ZackScott today, had the same feeling as you. You write:

    “Could this send the networks a signal that Google is now a competitor to networks and studios? ”

    This was the most obvious angle that made sense to me. Why keep chasing the networks who are trying to create Hulu when you can be your own network? Basically – it’s a “we don’t need you” play. They’re going to block content on GoogleTV? Fine. Google is going to MAKE content. Or at least, hire those who know how to make short form AND as you point out have network experience.

    I, also being a sellout, got a free Sony 46″ GoogleTV as well. I can only tell you that my first reaction was FAR better than I anticipated. There is no question in my mind Google has their first “Apple-like” product. I thought for sure that AppleTV was going to be this – a TV with the old Apple TV box inside. Instead, it’s Google along with Sony beating them to the punch.

    The only concern I have as an independent content creator is less visibility for other YouTubers who aren’t owned by Google or have content deals that push – but – if you have an audience, you have an audience. There’s really no reason for that to change.

  3. YouTube didn’t just send me one but I did just finish editing (and will upload at midnight) my entry to their contest to win one of 100 google tv’s they’re publicly giving away. Hopefully I win and I can sell out too! Okay it won’t really be selling out if its a contest, so um, gootube, send me other free stuff. It’s okay, anything you want 🙂

    As for the news though, I too agree that YouTube SHOULDN’T get into the content making business BUT I do think that’s where they are headed no doubt… time will tell the results..

  4. Love the insights. Daisy’s 30 Rock come true. Bobjenz on it being a shot over the bow. Another theory: just a talent acquisition since Google can’t exactly attract creatives given its engineering history. Urgo, good luck on the TV. Zack says he’ll give you his if you don’t win.

  5. Kiddsock… it’s just another collection of similarly minded creators. So as an amateur creator, I’m usually glad when its stuff (versus friggin’ music videos) gets YouTube love. But I do miss the true amateur days where the fast-talking semipro ego heads didn’t dominate.

  6. Nalts when I first read the tweet about this from CNET, the first thing that crossed my mind, is I wounder what Nalts thinks. That being said, I’m the new guy here, but typing from a Google CR 48 that cost less than a candy bar, wait it was not even that much, it was free. I don’t think the door will every shut for the individual, but the sales floor has become a much more competitive field in the past year. Can professional content co-exist with the individual, yes and if the individual gains and holds on to an audience, they will hold as much clout as the professional content provider. What I wounder is when you and others describe professional content, do you included SHAYTARDS & WheezyWaiter in that category? I have been unsure of that. If not then is there not always room and possibility for the next ST or WW. Also lets not forget how people reacted when Google bought YouTube. Many still say it was the worse thing that ever happened, however would we be were we (partners) be where we are today if not for Googles purchase. I am a Google whore, Google voice provides my phone number, Chrome OS provides my notebook, Gmail my mail, Blogger host my website and YouTube is my only source of income. That being said, I love the full size keyboard on this CR48, and Nalts can you please make a video, I am having withdraws.


  7. I read an article the other day about Chrome OS where the author suggested that Google was becoming too big and fragmented; that they were going in so many different directions that the different product teams could have no idea what everyone else is doing and how it all fits together. Could this be whats going on at YouTube? Or is this a very clever integration, where YouTube is providing an entire delivery vehicle so they can show the traditional networks the future of content delivery? Maybe what we’re seeing is the future; combine the GoogleTV experience with the new YouTube Live streaming feature (they’ve just gone public in their beta testing) and now YouTube has the ability to be just like an ABC or CBS. Don’t like your local news, check out the “NewsOfTheDay” youtube channel that does a live newscast every day now at 6. Tired of crime scene dramas and looking to laugh, try “CharlesTrippyLive” where he prank calls Nalts every night at 9. You get the point.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out if it’s true.

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