Thursday, March 10, 2011

YouTube's Next New Networks Acquisition and Creator Institute Make Content Creators King

Big Opportunities for Content Partners Open Up with YouTube Next New Networks Deal and YouTube Creator Institute
After months of rumors and speculation Google officially announced on Monday that it has acquired Internet TV platform Next New Networks in its first content deal to strengthen and grow out YouTube's platform to support its Partner Program of over 15,000 partners worldwide. Many YouTube partners are making over $1,000 a month and hundreds of partners making six figures a year, but YouTube says that's not enough so it's taking it to the next level with YouTube Next.
"YouTube Next is a new team tasked with supercharging creator development and accelerating partner growth and success."
This includes spearheading YouTube Next-branded programs, services, grants, store credits at B&H Photo, meet-ups, community events, education and training and audience development. YouTube says that" Next New Networks will be a laboratory for experimentation and innovation" and the team will be working with a wide variety of content partners and emerging talent to help them be more successful.

In his post on AdAge Micheal Learmonth said that the new incentives will help lift the market for small producers and not necessarily turn YouTube into a media company:
"YouTube has known this for years, but is now taking a bigger role in cultivating that industry, acquiring Next New Networks, which has built a track record of building and promoting web series."
Since its launch in 2007, Next New Networks has built its network of original web programming attracting over 2 billion views and 6 million subscribers across its partner networks of channels and shows. It created the shows “Barely Political” and “Indy Mogul” and produces videos for YouTube sensations The Gregory BrothersHot for Words, and Nalts.

As a fundamental part of the advertising business for Google YouTube knows that its own key to success is to have great content that can be monetized. Will Richmond suggested that With its Next New Networks Deal, YouTube Evokes Cable's Early Days and pointed to a recent interview with YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar who talked about future evolution of YouTube into channels.

Kamangar said:
"When you think about the impact cable had, we think we're in a position to have a similar impact for video delivery, like what cable has done with broadcast. In the early '80s, you had three or four networks. Now those three or four networks are responsible for 25 percent of viewership, and the cable networks are responsible for all the rest. Right now, the fraction of traffic that is Web video is small relative to broadcast and cable, but it's growing at a fast rate. What's amazing is that the Web enables you to build a kind of channel that wouldn't have made sense for cable, in the same way cable enabled you to build content that wouldn't have made sense for broadcast."
Keith Richman, CEO of Break Media commented that this deal is
"With this move, YouTube is clearly stating that Hulu and Netflix have won the war for studio content. YouTube is now going for semi-professional and will define that market."
Here's a video from Next New Networks of The Next New Creators Program : In Their Words which they explain how successful the partner program has been.

Next New Networks' entire full-time staff of 17 will join YouTube as part of the deal, with the exception of CEO and co-founder Fred Siebert, who will temporarily act as a consultant. But Next New Networks COO Liam Collins along with Co-founder Tim Shey are joining and Chairman Lance Podell will join YouTube Next Lab global director. Next new Networks raised a total of more than $27 million in venture funding as a company, and as while terms of its deal with YouTube are undisclosed but sources said that deal is close to $50 million.

On the company blog Seibert wrote:
“We’re very excited to share the news that Next New Networks is now part of YouTube. Our company will become a core component of YouTube Next, a new team that will focus on supercharging content creator development on YouTube, driving deeper expertise in partner audience development, and incubating new ideas that can be shared with the broader community.”
Congratulations Next New Networks, and looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Also, in related news, today YouTube also introduced the YouTube Creator Institute which is a new media program in partnership with with the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles and Columbia College Television Department in Chicago to help advance the education and careers of budding filmmakers.  The application process begins March 11 and submission details are here.

Here's the description of the programs and an introductory video:
"YouTube Creator Programs help develop the next generation of leading content creators. Through programs like the YouTube Partner Program and YouTube Creator Institute, YouTube and its partners help education, train, fund and promote promising creators."