Today, 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.
Since we launched in March 2007, we’ve had the goal of building an effective platform for developing, packaging and building audiences for original web video programming. To date, that programming has been viewed over 2 billion times and built a following of more than 6 million subscribers. A big part of that growth has been the more than 60 independent producers who have partnered with us as part of the Next New Creators program, including popular YouTube partners such as The Gregory Brothers, Hot for Words, and Nalts, in addition to the ongoing growth of networks like Barely Political (home of Obama Girl and “The Key of Awesome”), Indy Mogul, ThreadBanger, and Fast Lane Daily.
While our team will continue to work out of our offices here in New York as the YouTube Next Lab and Audience Development Group, I’ll be stepping down from a rewarding stint as the company’s CEO and continue producing cartoons from my company, Frederator Studios. Our popular cartoon network, Channel Frederator, will continue its partnership with YouTube, and I’m looking forward to a close and fruitful relationship with the company personally and professionally. Our current chairman, Lance Podell, will also be joining the YouTube Next team as global head for the group.
Everyone here is very excited to work even more closely with the YouTube team, and looking forward to expanding our mission to provide guidance and support in creative, production, and audience development to all aspiring and current YouTube partners.
Tonight, an all-new season of Top Gear premieres on BBC America at 9p/8c, and if you tune in, you might just see some familiar faces from Next New Networks.
BBC America’s running a groundbreaking online campaign, My First Car, to promote the new season of Top Gear across Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube, asking viewers to share the stories of their first cars for the chance to be featured on-air, or even win a trip to London to see a Top Gear live event.
So far, thousands of viewers have shared their stories online, as highlighted on Top Gear’s Tumblr blog, and starting tonight they’ll be featured on-air alongside some of BBC America’s favorite videos from Next New Networks creators. Here are a couple to get you started:
So tune in tonight, share your own #myfirstcar stories, and spread the word! And our thanks to our co-founder Herb Scannell and his team at BBC America for working wiht us on this incredibly fun campaign.
While these two series were a big part of our success in 2010, they also capped a year where Next New Networks grew across the board, doing over 1.2 billion video views in 2010 alone. To put that in perspective, in July we announced that we had done 1 billion all-time views since launching in 2007. In 2010, our shows were viewed on average over 100 million times per month, more than the previous three years combined.
So how did we do it? We asked Ben Relles, who heads up our programming and creator development, and who co-created The Key of Awesome and brought The Gregory Brothers to Next New Networks, to help with some insights.
We decided that 2010 was the year three main focuses of the company came together:
1. Betting on new talent for a new medium.
We launched the Next New Creators program last December so that we could work with more of the top emerging creators in the space, and one year in, we’ve added over 65 Next New Creators series that already represent more than 50% of our monthly viewership.
Working with new talent required a new model, and without Next New Creators program, we wouldn’t have gotten to work with The Gregory Brothers and had the #1 video on YouTube in 2010, but we also wouldn’t have gotten to work with over 60 other amazing new creators and shows like Keep the Heat, Beyond the Trailer, Moviebuzz, Hot for Words, DJ Mike Relm, Nalts, Food Wishes and the other great shows on Hungry Nation. Every week, there’s a new creator in the office we’re all excited about, and one of the great things we get to do is exposing them to new audiences, like we did last week with new creator What’s Up Elle in a special crossover episode with The Key of Awesome, which helped drive 10,000 new subscribers to her channel.
2. Consistent programming, not just viral hits.
As Ben has long noted, ”viral” video and “episodic” video don’t need to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the best episodic series often use a highly viewed, shared, and blogged video to bring in new fans and loyal viewers.
Both The Gregory Brothers and The Key of Awesome regularly and consistently created new episodes to grow their fan base, both before and after their breakout hits. As a result, each series regularly breaks the one million mark on new episodes; The Gregory Brothers now have more than 680,000 YouTube subscribers, and Barely Political, home of Key of Awesome, just passed the 1 million subscriber mark. Other Next New series benefited from this in 2010 as well — the "Twitter Movie Trailer", for instance, was a much-buzzed about video and introduced a whole new audience to Indy Mogul, and Fast Lane Daily continues to grow from consistently delivering episodes for a fourth straight year, with their 1000th episode due to hit this month.
What the most successful web series creators know is that it’s not enough to have a viral hit; you have to come back the next week and do it all over again. And you have to be ready, when success hits, with a back catalog and new episodes that are easy for your fans to find.
3. Optimizing for how audiences watch online.
For the past few years, some of the most important sources of audience in online video have been subscribers, search results, and related videos, and the most successful web series optimize to increase the impact of all three, focusing on great packaging in terms of branding, metadata, and thumbnails to stand out in search and related video results, and including calls to action within programming and packaging that drive viewers to subscribe on YouTube, social networks, or in email.
In 2010, we saw two other massive impacts on audience growth: effective cross-promotion of episodes, shows, and channels using tools like YouTube annotations, and increased viewership coming from sharing on networks like Facebook and Twitter. As more creators and shows joined our Next New Creators program, there’s been a corresponding network effect in both of those areas — Next New Networks series now have nearly 6 million YouTube subscribers combined, and a marked cross-pollination of fan bases, that we believe is a big part of our growth in viewership. Perhaps, much like Facebook is built on a social graph, online video viewership is increasingly powered by something like an audience graph of sharing and relationships.
We work with all of our shows and creators to better understand and take advantage of these trends, and great examples of the power of the audience graph abounded this year, like when Next New Creator Food Wishes won the Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” challenge by rallying their subscribers and fans online.
What we like most having these focuses is that anyone can follow them; in fact, we’ve learned as many of our best practices from paying attention to other top web series and YouTube channels as we have from our own. In many ways, online video is like an open source developer community, with the best practices out there for anyone to see, and cross-pollination of ideas happening daily that’s lifting up the entire medium.
Our congratulations to the Gregory Brothers and the Key of Awesome for having the #1 and #2 most viewed videos this year: read Ben’s full blog post about the milestone. Also thanks to all the creators in the Next New Creators program, and to our super-distribution network of partners including YouTube, iTunes, DailyMotion, Metacafe, 5Min, Yahoo!, Hulu, AOL, Blip.tv, Howcast, Boxee, Tubemogul and MSN. We’re looking forward to the remaining videos in 2010, and much more in 2011!
Alan Kaufman has seen it all. From production on the film sets of the 1970s, to the video heyday of Nickelodeon, to an original hire of Next New Networks, Alan has spent the past 30 years saving images to film - tape - DVD - and file servers.
When we first met at Next New Networks nearly four years ago, Alan was a never-ending fount of knowledge and a teller of entertaining tales. When crafting the populace of a start-up, it’s important to have fresh young minds, excited for a bleeding-edge medium … and though Alan eclipsed many of us in years, the excitement and “let’s go out and make some magic!” enthusiasm he had was unmatched. When I was feeling tired and beat-down, I’d look to Alan to give me that creative kick in the pants I needed.
It’s this same spirit that infuses "Ultra Fur" with it’s special brand of home-brewed, DIY goodness. With over 40 episodes, and typically several weeks of episodes already created in advance, it’s clear Alan loves his quiet safari into the untamed reaches of his front (and back) yards.
Our first Creators Spotlight shines on Grace Randolph
Here at Next New, we’re confident that when it comes to shining talent on the Internet, the people we work with shine the most blindingly bright.
It’s for this reason, that we’ve launched a new web series with the express intent of highlighting to the world at large, the sorts of tenacious and dedicated personalities that find success in the universe of online video.
It’s a common thread behind the hundreds of millions of views; the lone producer, the obsessive comment-checker, the drive to improve and expand with every passing episode. It’s these traits that separate the folks who post one video and give up, from the ones who slog through hundreds before finally making a hit and finding their audience.
These producers know talent is earned, not bestowed from on-high. Talent is the culmination of thousands of tiny failures. Talent is a painful process, but a process that, in the end, always pays off.
Grace is truely exceptional. Through persistence she’s moved from filming every week on the inclimate streets of Times Square, to working out deals with major chains that allow her sole access to film inside their hallowed halls. From Monday to Sunday, she’s putting together the blocks that build her Beyond The Trailer empire, not with the firey prodding of some angry overseer, but with her own determination, blood, sweat and (possibly?) tears.
We’re honored to have her on board, and even more honored that she was the first to proudly call herself a Next New Creator.
Come back every Wednesday for another profile, and learn more about the people who are the stars of today, the superstars of tomorrow.
The Wing Girls show is a pubescent boy’s best friend. With videos like ‘How To Kiss,’ ‘How to Ask Her Out,’ and ‘How to Make a Move at the Movies,’ the show provides a girl’s perspective on all the basics of proper courting.
Jet and Star, co-pilot hosts of The Wing Girls, were making the show for over a year before joining the Next New Creators program in April of 2010. They scored a couple viral hits and grew a solid following for their straight-forward dating advice. As part of the Next New Creators program, the show was able to grow viewership 260% in the first 6 months, climbing to an average of 1.5MM views per month and growing. Their subscribers have grown 87% in the first 6 months of working with Next New Networks helping their tips reach more confused and curious boys than ever before.
Topics can sometimes tread into R-rated territory, but, for the most part, the girls help the innocent youth avoid the awkwardness of interacting with the opposite sex for the first time. In the past, youngsters have had to rely on their parents or the public school system to fill them in on how we keep making more people. But, thanks to The Wing Girls, they can get some tips and advice on all the stages that lead up to that special moment.
Check out the great character acting and costumes in this episode of The Wing Girls - ‘Back To School Dating.’
If you’re like most of us — crazy busy during the week — and come Friday, you just want to know which movie to go see, we hope you’re checking out our weekly show with MSN Movies, FilmFan, which is really starting to find its stride. Every Friday, Maribel Aber highlights the best bets for moviegoers who just want to catch something good this weekend.
This week, our picks are JACKASS 3D, RED, and CONVICTION:
FilmFan’s the first partnership between Next New Networks and MSN, and Samsung stepped up to support the show just weeks after we launched. It’s also a great example of how the Next New Creators program hooks up independent web producers: we brought on Rebecca Lando, a movie buff who’s also creator of the Tasty-award winning Hungry Nation series, Working Class Foodies, as FilmFan’s writer and producer, and she’s bringing a lot of the Next New vibe to the show.
Next New Networks and YouTube Find Viewers of Web Originals are More Engaged than TV Viewers
Vanessa writes: We often read about the sizable and growing audience of online video but less documented are the habits of an online video viewer. Given viewership has pushed online video to the mainstream, we at Next New decided to partner with the largest video platform, YouTube, and research group Frank N. Magid Associates to find insights into this demographic.
Today we released the findings of the first ever extensive study on how audiences view web original content versus television. The study revealed that the majority of viewers of web original content find these videos to be just as, if not more, entertaining than television programming.
Here are some of the highlights:
Viewers are 2.5 times more likely to be fully engaged with online video than viewers who watch traditional television.
Viewers of web original content are spending 13% less time with traditional television.
60% of online video viewers watch web original content on a weekly basis.
4 out of 10 online video viewers share the videos with others.
Next New Viewership Gaining on Prime Time Television
Given these findings, and the growth story we’ve had this year at Next New Networks where viewership is up 500%, we decided to put that in context of television viewers and see where we would sit with broadcast TV network ratings. While it’s not strictly apples to apples, we graphed our US weekly total unique viewers to television’s prime time viewership over the week of Sept 20 - 26th, which is television’s first week back for the Fall season. Here’s what we found:
Check out our full research report release to read more of the findings of this study, and this great article by Ad Age on our latest numbers and research. And for more information email me at vanessa (at) nextnewnetworks (dot) com.
October 1: Hey everyone — today we’ve got some great news to lead with: as shown by the chart below, Next New Networks viewership has grown 500% so far in 2010 from an average of 30 million views per month to over 150 million views in August — and we’ve already surpassed that total for September as well (we’ll have the full September roundup in a couple weeks).
In any given month, over 40 million unique viewers now watch Next New Networks programming.
Overall subscribers to Next New Networks have doubled from 2 million to 4 million viewers in just six months.
Next New episodes have now been viewed over 1.5 billion times since March 2006; at the current rate, we will do 1 billion views in 2010 alone.
More than 90% of our inventory is advertising-enabled and generating revenue, including a 10% “viral lift” due to many of our videos being re-uploaded by fans (see Tim talk about this today at 4:30p ET at the Open Video Conference in New York).
Spotlight: The Gregory Brothers
Our biggest growth story of the summer is The Gregory Brothers, creators of Auto-Tune the News, and the first of now over 50 independent producers to join our Next New Creators program.
Last year the Gregory Brothers did millions of views, won multiple Streamy and Webby Awards, and Auto-Tune the News became a worldwide hit. But it was the one-two punch this summer of their “Double Rainbow Song" and "Bed Intruder Song,” featuring Antoine Dodson, that accelerated the Gregory Brothers to three consecutive months of massive growth:
370,000 new subscribers in the last 90 days — 250% growth — making them YouTube’s #1 Most Subscribed Channel for the month of September.
Three months of more than 300% viewership growth from June through August (over 36 million views in August)
Cover versions and community mashups of the “Bed Intruder Song” have garnered an additional 75 million views
"Bed Intruder Song" is a legitimate pop hit, debuting in the Billboard Hot 100, selling over 91,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, and making enough money for Antoine Dodson to move his family to a nicer house, as reported by the NY Times.
If you haven’t seen “Bed Intruder Song” yet, check it out and go down the rabbithole of 2010’s biggest pop culture phenomenon.
Lastly, we want to extend our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to George Strompolos, who’s been our partnership manager at YouTube and shared yesterday that he’ll be moving on from his role there to start a new company. George is one of the biggest supporters of independent, original web video in the business, and through his work helping to found and build YouTube’s Partner Program has played a huge role creating opportunities not just for companies like Next New Networks, but a whole wave of independent creators who are making real income, as evidenced by recent stories in BusinessWeek and AdAge.
That’s it for today — as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, and feel free to let us know what you’d like to know more about in the next newsletter.
We’ve had an exciting, fast-paced summer, with lots of growth in viewership and programming, and we have more great news we’ll be putting out soon about both of those things; but today, we have some other news we want to share.
After having accomplished so much for us in the past two years as our CEO, Lance Podell is changing his role for personal reasons. Lance will continue to play a significant role in the company as our new Chairman of the Board, but he will no longer be CEO of Next New Networks. We’re very fortunate in this case that Fred Seibert, our co-founder and current Chairman, will become our CEO going forward.
I know I speak for everyone when I say that we’ll miss having Lance here every day, and are grateful he can continue with us in a key role — we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in, thanks in large part to his leadership and the initiatives he led: the launch of Next New Creators, the streamlining of our business that’s put us well on track to profitability, the deepening of our partnerships with companies like YouTube and MSN, and building awareness of Next New Networks as the leading force in original entertainment for the web, with over 1.5 billion views and counting.
So please join us in thanking Lance for everything, and to welcome him to his new role leading our Board.