Google is close to acquiring Next New Networks

February 10, 2011, 6:58 PM UTC

The move would add a web television studio to Google’s YouTube wing.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google (GOOG) is moving to acquire Next New Networks for “tens of millions of dollars” and a deal could be announced in the coming week.  NNN is a web television studio company based in New York City whose online television networks include Barely Political, Channel Frederator, Fast Lane Daily, and Indy Mogul, among others.

The goal for Google is help to it acquire more professional content for its YouTube subsidiary. Next New’s YouTube channel currently has 6.7 million subscribers and reached one billion page views last summer according to a Fast Company profile in September.

NNN is a network of networks that has made an art of finding grassroots YouTube talent — like Obama Girl, now at home on its Barely Political channel — giving them equipment, ad and marketing support, syndication, and cross-promotion in exchange for a split of the revenue. The company utilizes what it calls “super distribution” to meet viewers where they are, be it iTunes, MSN, Yahoo, Hulu, or emerging venues such as Boxee.

NNN was launched in March 2007 by Fred Seibert, Herb Scannell, Emil Rensing, Timothy Shey and Jed Simmons with $8 million in funding from investors including Spark Capital.  Current investors also include Fuse Capital, Saban Capital Group and Goldman Sachs (GS).

The move would take Google into mostly uncharted territory.  Google has until now preferred to host and index (and monetize) content rather than produce it.  The Journal quotes an insider who says that Google has no interest in the studio aspect of the business and is simply looking for talent scouts.

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