YouTube Gets a Talent Agency


youtube_small.jpgADOTAS – With the news that Google had acquired Next New Networks (NNN) through YouTube, speculation began that Big G was jumping into the content creation biz. But no, Google won’t be pulling out the director’s chair and tying an ascot around its neck — because NNN doesn’t produce content.

In the last year-and-a-half the the company has given up on in-house production in favor of distributing and monetizing viral video content like “Auto Tune the News,” “Double Rainbow” and “Bed Intruder” through its many channels. GigaOm’s Ryan Lawler interviewed CEO Lance Podell last June, who described NNN as an “incubator of web video talent, striking rev share agreements with independent creators who can leverage Next New’s studio, brand and marketing muscle to increase audience awareness.”

That’s the nice way to put it — Christopher Mims of MIT Technology Review calls it the “indie band model,” and as a musician it sounds quite familiar. “You, dear artist, will take on 100% of the risk, and if you have enough success bootstrapping your audience from nothing, someone will come along to scoop you up and put your work in front of sponsors who can monetize the eyeballs you’re capturing.”

NNN is not really an artist incubator — they want the full-grown product. The content producers are expected to build up a certain level of audience on their own, and that’s where the “expert consultants” will take over. NNN is a talent agent that also boasted distribution channels, but in no longer needs these thanks to Google.

So NNN won’t be moving production equipment into YouTube, just their video marketing and networking prowess. They’ll be consulting with YouTube partners, who get a 50% cut of the ad revenue. However, the real money isn’t in those crappy text ads that pop up only to be quickly dismissed or even the much-lamented pre-roll — the revenue is in brand sponsorships and branded content.

Google wants a piece of that revenue, so they’ve acquired the talent agency that can make those deals happen.


  1. What a fascinating insight into a Google buy. I really hadn’t heard about NNN, but they sound like a new mode of conveying You Tube video of audience favorites. It’s like the Purina sponsorships of cute cat videos. When a friend sends me one, I get a screen covered with Purina brand labels. My cats love Purina. I actually don’t mind the advertising. Still, do people get cash for their cute cat video? As to NNN products, frankly, I am not sure I want to know what is in “Bed Intruder.” Sounds like bed bugs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here