March 9, 2007
Next New Networks the Newest Online Video Competitor

Next New Networks, yet another broadband video service hoping to gain strong footing in the growing online market for video networks, has announced that it is going to launch 101 "micro-networks" on its site through a long-term content expansion plan over the next five years.

According to their press release yesterday, this "micro-networks" plan will start with six networks and will add three or so networks each month as part of this slow expansion of content. The video networks will be formed around themed content, with some shows appearing on a daily basis and others weekly. Most episodes will be three to eight minutes in length.

The site will focus on building communities around these various programs, targeting 18-to-34 year olds.

The first round of channels will feature comic books, automobiles, and DIY fashion. The mini-sites initially announced include Fast Lane Daily, providing daily news for the auto enthusiast; Threadbanger, a five-minute show every week about homemade clothing; VOD Cars, focusing on automobile culture; and Channel Frederator.

I first wrote about Channel Frederator, "The World's Original Cartoon Podcast," last April. At the time, I wrote:

What's so interesting about the podcasted cartoons is that they not only produce their own work but also accept work from amateurs, which--if good enough--becomes distributed by Channel Frederator, making it a true community of production where the line between cultural producer and fan becomes a little hard to distinguish. The editorial function remains with the producers, who decide what does and what does not get distributed, but Channel Frederator seems to get that fans want content generated by them to not just be considered ancillary but to be featured as well, at least the best of it.

The shows will be distributed through both Apple iTunes and available on YouTube. Expatriates from C3 partner MTV Networks are launching the brand.

Tobi Elkin with Online Media Daily writes, "What makes Next New's approach unique is that each micro-network hosts its own shows on a branded Web site. New and archived shows can also be found on iTunes and YouTube, and viewers are invited to contribute, share, and distribute the network content."

Some are reserving judgment on whether this approach will make all the difference, but there has been little question that the branded niche networks model sets Nexxt New Networks apart from other online video services. Grendel with ON the Turning Away writes, "The niche or 'Long Tail' focus takes a page from cable networks' playbook...In a time when user-generated content is all the rage, it's far from clear whether Next New's "hand-holding" approach with content owners and brands will pay dividends."

Phil Butler on Profy writes, "We continue to see widespread migration of ideas and money from traditional programming towards Internet based platforms. This is all very exciting and can only lead to improved, innovative and enjoyable viewing experiences for consumers. I am thinking this set of networks might just be the hobby aspect (This Old House, Extreme Makeovers and Pimp My Ride) of the coming Web TV stampede."

I've recently written about several other online video sites as well, such as, Revver, Joost, Veoh, Metacafe, ROO, and Brightcove. Be sure to check them out. There are more players in this game than anyone can keep accurate track of, that's for sure. (See Geoffrey Long's list from back in November to try and help keep track a little bit).