Why Did YouTube Acquire Next New Networks?

Why did YouTube acquire Next New Networks, and what does it mean for the future of the online video site?

The biggest news in the world of online video this week is YouTube’s acquisition of Next New Networks. Rumors about the acquisition have been flying since December, but as of yesterday afternoon the rumors were confirmed, both on the YouTube blog and at NextNewNetworks.com, which now redirects automatically to YouTube.com/NextNew. But why did YouTube acquire Next New Networks, and what does it mean for the future of the online video site? Read on to find out.
Before we get to what the acquisition means for YouTube, let’s take a look at what it means for Next New Networks. Yesterday Fred Seibert, CEO and Co-Founder of what is now the company formerly known as Next New Networks wrote on the company blog, “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.” As part of the acquisition, Seibert announced that he will be stepping down from his role as CEO. Chairman Lance Podell will be joining the new YouTube Next team as global head for the group, which will be run out of the Next New Networks New York office.
YouTube provides a little bit more information about YouTube next on their blog:

“YouTube Next is a new team tasked with supercharging creator development and accelerating partner growth and success. The team will also spearhead a series of YouTube Next-branded programs and services that will build off past partner development initiatives such as the Partner Grants Program that advanced partners funds based on future YouTube revenue share and the recent $1,000 credits at B&H Photo given to partners to purchase new camera equipment. The YouTube Next team and programs will expand our partner meet-ups and community events, increase investment in partner education and training and launch new capabilities in audience development.”

So why did YouTube acquire Next New Networks? If you ask me it’s basically because they’ve seen over the last year just how powerful their partners are. They mention in the blog post about the acquisition that in 2010 their Partner Program “grew to over 15,000 partners worldwide”, as well as that “the number of partners making over $1,000 a month is up 300% since the beginning of 2010 and we now have hundreds of partners making six figures a year.” They carry on to say, “But frankly, “hundreds” making a living on YouTube isn’t enough and in 2011 we know we can and should do more to help our partners grow.”
Next New Networks has a proven track record of helping YouTube Partners reach their potential and succeed, so why not take them on as part of the YouTube team to reach even more partners, improve even more content and help the online video site blossom? That’s just what YouTube has done with the acquisition and formation of YouTube Next.
Obviously, Next New Networks is thrilled about this new acquisition. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just check out this Beet.TV clip of COO Liam Collins dancing on the table after announcing that the staff are “now Google employees!” I too think that YouTube Next means great things for the future of YouTube. What’s your take on YouTube’s acquisition of Next New Networks? What do you think the future holds in store for YouTube Next?