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Archive for the ‘Next New Networks’

Next New Networks acquired!

March 7th, 2011


Next New Networks was built with the idea that next generation video was worth championing, the problem was they needed someone to love them.” –founding CEO Herb Scannell

Today –incredibly, coincidentally– four years to the day it was originally announced, the company I founded (my co-founders were Emil Rensing, Herb Scannell, Tim Shey, and Jed Simmons), Next New Networks, has been acquired by long time partner Google’s YouTube unit, under the umbrella YouTube Next. I’ve been the part time CEO for the past six months (the only actual job I ever had there), but I won’t working there any longer. However… I expect to extend my long and fruitful relationship with YouTube, making it safe (and safer) for animation and cartoon creators of all stripes.

Check out my announcement of the deal on the Next New blog, the official word on YouTube’s blog, and here are the stories in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Financial Times.

We started Next New Networks as the chaos of online video was exploding, figuring if we could bring a wee bit of order we’d actually create online television. Well, it seemed to work as we ended the year as probably the most successful platform for original web video, with 2010’s #2 YouTube channel and the #1 and #2 videos in the world. Most importantly, over the last four years the company’s been able to work with hundreds of the most talented new filmmakers in the world.

Channel Frederator started it all, but I’m incredibly proud of everything the company’s accomplished over the years, from launching dozens of networks, programming that’s been viewed over 2 billion times, and winning 10 Webby Awards.

A huge engine of our growth in the past year has been the Next New Creators program, where NNN partnered with over 60 independent producers, including popular YouTube partners such as The Gregory Brothers, Hot for Words, and Nalts, to help them hone their craft and grow their audiences. And we continued to grow our own successful networks such as online comedy network Barely Political (home of Obama Girl and “The Key of Awesome”), filmmaking network Indy Mogul, and style network ThreadBanger, in many cases reinvigorating them with creator-owned content.

Everyone at Next New Networks deserves a huge thank you for the incredible work that’s been done; they’ve all been a dedicated group of pioneers inventing and reinventing the way the media world is working. And this intrepid trailblazing group would have to include our investors — Spark Capital, Goldman Sachs group, Fuse Capital, Saban Capital, Balderton Capital, The Pilot Group, Herb Scannell, [the rest here]– and our board members –Dennis Miller, Joel Andryc, Brett Bullington, Jon Miller, Pete Perrone, Craig Cooper, Ross Levinsohn, Roland Van der Meer, Richard Yen and Bijan Sabet– and everyone at their companies. Without their support and vision we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much as we have.


For me, it’s been an incredible journey at Next New working with hundreds of people who’ve worked so hard to help define the next evolution of media. I’ve been at this for almost 40 years, constantly looking forward, and I’ve been honored to have the experience.

My great friend, our original CEO and co-founder Herb Scannell recently said it well in an email: “Next New Networks was built with the idea that next generation video was worth championing; the problem was they needed someone to love them. It figured out how to get ‘YouTube power’ with big sub bases for it’s content, made content that was hooked into ‘now pop culture’ to optimize interest and, with good blocking and tackling, cultivated community development to grow loyalty.”

At the end of 2005, Emil Rensing and I thought it might be fun to organize our video passions online. With the visionary help of tumblr founder-to-be David Karp and my colleagues Eric Homan, Mike Glenn, Melissa Wolfe, and Carrie Miller, these took shape as the pioneering podcasts Channel Frederator and VOD Cars.

Looking back they don’t look like that big a deal, but the first month’s downloads (over 1 million) convinced us there might be something to explore. The video world on the Internet was starting to explode with a chaotic frenzy of activity, and my experience with a similar boom around cable television thirty years before foretold an opportunity. If only someone (us?) could begin to form a small island of order in this topsy-turvy world, it would be a great boon to viewers looking to satisfy their enthusiasms. And, as the first MTV boss, Jack Schneider Array, told me on my first day at work in 1980, “New mediums demand new brands.” Next New Networks could provide those new brands to the Internet TV world.

Soon enough Emil and I were looking around for fellow travelers. My first MTV mentor and friend Bob Pittman told me we weren’t crazy, and offered to come in with our first outside angel investment. My former Hanna-Barbera partner, Jed Simmons, started setting up strategy sessions and introducing us to potential investors. Dennis Miller had been our colleague at Turner Broadcasting, and as a principal at Spark Capital, became our lead investor.

Meanwhile, we were spouting our hopes and dreams to anyone who would listen, especially in the creative and technology circles where we traveled. Creators and producers were flowing in and out of my small New York office trying to get a bead on our visions, and soon enough we’d started to amass a group of motivated, talented creative people who wanted in.

Tim Shey was a college friend of Emil’s and an Internet entrepreneur who’d sold his Washington, D.C., company and resettled in New York, working with the likes of Rocketboom. He became part of our founders’ group after our first group conversation in my apartment in early 2006. Herb Scannell and I had grown up together on Long Island and worked together for too many years at MTV Networks, and he joined up as our founding CEO the same day.

Later in the year, out West talking to investors ,we met up with the writer/director, Justin Johnson. Not only was Justin one of the very first video bloggers, but he’d been producing dozens of fabulous Channel Frederator promotional films for over a year. Next New had its very first creative employee. Over the next few months people kept showing up at Park Avenue South and we were able to fill out our roster with creators, network managers, producers, you name it.

I’ve got to save a special shout out to our Frederator/NY producer Carrie Miller. She signed up to work in animation, and attacked Channel Frederator and the production of The Meth Minute 39 and Nite Fite with all the attention they deserved. But, over the summer of 2006 I was out for an operation, and coming back to work I foisted this big surprise of a new company, new partners, and a whole heap of new work on her lap. She took it all in stride worked her tail off to help everyone accomplish everything they were dreaming. We couldn’t have worked our way out of a paper bag without you Carrie.

Soon enough, our team was complete.

Thank you everyone. It’s been a great beginning.

That was the year that was.

December 31st, 2010



For some Friends of Frederator, there was no bigger 2010 news than the reissue of the Chevy Camaro, but our extended family had a banner year at work too. Cartoon hits, original internet hits, hits hits hits everywhere.

Fanboy from fredseibert on Vimeo.

At Frederator, 2010 actually started in November 09 with the stellar launch of Eric Robles’ Fanboy & Chum Chum, the first series spun off of our Random! Cartoons shorts series. The show was Nickelodeon and Frederator’s first original CG series (Penguins and Jimmy Neutron both started as features) and went where very few computer images had gone before. Namely, great characters and great stories combined with the classic squash and stretch animation innovation of the 1920’s.

Adventure Time from fredseibert on Vimeo.

Five years in gestation from its start on Random! Cartoons, Adventure Time premiered in early April to equally fabulous reaction. Aside from all the great reviews and great ratings, you went beyond the call of duty and on day one you’d already submitted hundreds of pieces of fan art. No one’s ever seen a show like AT, and going into our third season the thrills (and chills) continue to be mathematical.

Moving on to my parallel existence in the New York internet dimension, Next New Networks, the company I founded in 2007 but never officially worked at, asked me this summer to become the interim, part time CEO. I agreed mainly because of the talented staff had worked incredibly hard to build the most successful online television company in the world, and if there was anything I could do to help them I considered it an honor. And boy, have they delivered.

First, in June came the news the company had amassed 1 billion video views and 8000 episodes since it’s founding, in addition to 10 Webby Awards in 2010 alone. By September our monthly view count jumped to 150 million, up from 30 million a year before. As of today the company’s up to 200 million monthly views, with over 1.2 billion in calendar 2010 (remember, it took us three years for the first billion).Then, we got the word that NNN videos were the top two most viewed of the year on YouTube, the world’s largest online video platform, and Next New’s biggest distributor.

#1. Without my help, a lot of you have already seen The Gregory Brothers‘ “Bed Intruder Song,” YouTube’s most viewed video of the year (60 million views), proudly distributed by Next New Networks. At the NNN Christmas party the other day, I told Michael Gregory that their indie cred is completely shot. Now, that they’re at the top of the charts they’re like The Bay City Rollers or Britney Spears or something.

#2. The Key of Awesome (part of our Barely Political network) is one of the most popular shows on YouTube in 2010 (last I looked it was number two). With musical parodies almost every week, they’ve taken on everyone from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga (where do you think she got the idea for her meat dress? Seriously.) Well, one of their Ke$ha videos, a parody of Tik-Tok called “Glitter Puke” has almost 58 million views, 20 million more than the original. Go Awesome!

So, like I said at the top, WOW! Thanks to all of you who’ve been loyal fans throughout the year, and of course, thanks to all of the creative and production folks who’ve made all this great stuff.

A new cartoon show?

October 20th, 2010

(via Barely Political)

My other life in the internet occasionally gives cartoon inspirations. My colleagues at Next New Networks’ Barely Political distribute The Gregory BorthersAuto-Tune the News (you probably know them from the Bed Intruder song), and they are really as funny as anyone in animation.


June 30th, 2010

1 Billion views @ Next New NetworksNext New Networks crosses 1 billion views on our web series episodes, June 29th 2010.

(Screenshot by Jenei Arnold, Romania via Twitpic)

What do women want?

March 6th, 2009

Hair? Really?

I promised my friends and colleagues at TMI Weekly and Next New Networks I’d give the latest TMI ep a shout out. Ladies, you already know. Guys, listen carefully.

My roots are showing.

February 19th, 2009

Next New Networks’ programming head Tim Shey

As a few of you know, I was an early employee at MTV, and a better ride was had by none. So, I’ve been kind of resistant to any kind of music programming venture over at Next New Networks.

Until Tim Shey & Felicia Williams showed up in the office with director/producer Jack Ferry and the idea for $99 Music Videos. That’s right, a new music video every week (plus a making-of) by a new band made in one day for 99 bucks.

Enjoy the videos here, and you can read a little more about the network here, here, here, and here.

It’s fun going around again.

The Epic-FU’s.

February 6th, 2009

Lunch yesterday was at Kate Mantellini’s (white bean chili!) with the lovelies Steve Woolf and Zadi Diaz. These guys are the brilliant minds behind Epic-FU (née the Jetset Show) and you should definitely check them out. Even though we don’t work together right now (Epic-FU used to be distributed by Next New Networks), we hook up every once in a while and learn a little something from each other.

Happy Frederween!

November 1st, 2008

Happy Frederween! from justin on Vimeo.

I’m a lucky guy in almost every way, always have been. And when it comes to my work colleagues that goes triple. I’ve always been surrounded by smart, supportive folks that have made work even more fun and productive than I would have ever imagined. And they invariably have a great sense of humor, like everyone at Next New Networks. As you can see by the Halloween video Justin Johnson made with them yesterday. [Read more…]

Jon Kane directs for Next New Networks.

October 7th, 2008

Next New Networks on Vimeo.
I’ve mentioned director Jon Kane before (he made the great Oh Yeah! Cartoons bumpers for us) and I wanted to share with you the awesome tape he just made for Channel Frederator’s parent Next New Networks.

Erik Beck = Hottest Male Web Host

April 30th, 2008

Blogged by my Next New Networks partner Tim Shey:

Have you ever watched Indy Mogul and thought to yourself, “Hey, this Erik guy is one sharp looking dude”? Well, you’re not the only one. Daisy Whitney from TV Week thinks so too. She’s compiled a list of The Hottest Male Web Hosts, and our very own Erik Beck is up against Eric Gunnar Rochow from Greenhouse. So if you’ve ever entertained those thoughts, now is the time to let those feelings rush forth. Vote Now! Polling ends Friday, May 2nd.