Summary:

Next New Networks’ Auto-Tune the News and Key of Awesome topped YouTube’s most watched list for 2010, but the company’s success goes well beyond the fact that it’s mastered the art of the parody viral video. The question is now: When will it reach profitability?

ke$ha next new networks

UPDATED: YouTube’s new blog devoted to trends launched yesterday with the site’s end-of-year most watched list. The most notable thing about this list is that it proves that the days of viral stunts dominating the charts are very much over (with the exception, that is, of the Double Rainbow). These days, what dominates is professionally produced content like that turned out by Next New Networks’ Auto-Tune the News and Key of Awesome.

Next New programming took the top two slots on YouTube’s most-watched list, first with ATTN’s Billboard-chart-climbing hit Bed Intruder, followed by Key of Awesome‘s Ke$ha parody.

In addition, Barely Political/Barely Digital founder and executive producer Ben Relles said via IM that if the Justin Bieber parody Sleep on You had been released in January 2010 instead of late December, it would have been in third position.

On the Next New Networks blog, Relles goes into detail about what’s been key to NNN’s success on YouTube (though, from the cheap seats, it’s not hard to notice that the common element of all those videos is that they’re music videos or music video parodies).

However, Next New programming goes beyond viral hits like these — even though the company has largely shifted away from in-house production over the last year or so, thanks to its Creators program, the company is able to continue distributing classic shows from their roster like Fast Lane Daily

So the big question is: After four years in business, is the company set to go into the black? Last June, as NNN neared one billion total views on its content, then-CEO Lance Podell said that the company was on track to reach profitability at the end of this year, depending on certain deals going through. UPDATE: NNN President Tim Shey said via email that “Re: our profitability, we’re not commenting at this time, but obviously we’re very excited about all the audience growth we’ve had this year.”

However, even if the company’s still not profitable, it’s clearly not on the wrong track — something it knows all too well, thanks to a study it commissioned this fall, which found that original web content was just as engaging as broadcast TV.

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