In what could signal a major shift for YouTube, the Google-owned company is reportedly in talks to purchase Next New Networks, a web video production company. Next New Networks "scouts new video creators" and helps them find an audience. It has been behind some of YouTube's most popular videos, including the "Bed Intruder Song," 2010's most-watched YouTube video (60 million views), and "Double Rainbow," another viral hit. Does this mean that Google, which "has always insisted" it wants YouTube to remain a repository for user-submitted video, not original content, is finally ready to change course? (See more about Next New Networks)
YouTube going niche: This is "a bet by YouTube on alternative, independently produced video," says video-industry analyst Will Richmond, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times. Google seems to be most interested in Next New Network's affiliation with professional yet individualistic filmmakers; the message here is "that online video isn't just about Hollywood. It's also about the indie stuff."
"YouTube in talks to acquire Next New Networks"
It is betting on a winner: "The idea of YouTube producing its own videos... makes a lot of sense," says Doug Aamoth in Time. Also logical: Reaching "into Google's deep pockets and going after a sure thing like Next New Networks," rather than betting on something less established. And since Google has to split ad revenues with video makers on YouTube, why not buy the company that's "making the most popular videos anyway and keep that all that ad revenue in the family?"
"Is YouTube trying to buy up popular online TV networks?"
There is not much in it for Google: "Color us skeptical," says Austin Carr in Fast Company. Google has "hesitated" over producing original content before, so "why start now?" Yes, Next New Networks is popular, but "the ad revenue generated by the deal won't make a huge impact on Google's profits." Next New Networks "will continue to produce popular YouTube videos" even if the deal doesn't go through, and Google will still get half of the profits.
"YouTube, Google to make original content with acquisition of Next New Networks?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- Pope Francis' American problem
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The week's best photojournalism
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
Subscribe to the Week