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Ping Pong at Next New Networks

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What do you get when you put a former producer of Rocketboom and a former vice chairman of MTV Networks at the same table? How about the same company? Well, it’s not exactly a mind meld, but it’s an interesting dynamic, which we witnessed last week when Tim Shey and Herb Scannell of Next New Networks came in for a chat.

Here’s some excerpts from the conversation:

“We take inspiration from television; it has to be consistent and dependable, but we also take inspiration from what’s going on the web right now, which is get out there and iterate.” — Shey

“Our preference is against prerolls. Our whole thing is going to be about building relationships with the advertisers and building relationships with the audience. We’re taking out inefficiencies — it’s going to be like the early ’90s with broadcast and cable all over again.” — Scannell

“Our goal is being wherever the audience is, and in a lot of cases that’s places that are hard to measure. We want every one of our networks to have a channel on YouTube.” — Shey

“We’re not trying to create some kind of destination company; we’re more not a portal.” — Scannell

“Even when we have some level of exclusivity, we don’t try to control content. In most cases it’s downloadable in a Creative Commons way. If they want to build a whole business around our content, we don’t have a problem with that, just don’t modify it.” –Shey

“We’re building networks because shows can move on. It’s about the network.” — Scannell

“We’re not about big budgets. We’d rather give a lot of people a lot of opportunities.” — Shey

“We also think there’s a lot of talent. I know what it’s like to try to get in at a media company — three years minimum as somebody’s assistant. Your big victory is you get to do a ‘coming next’ promo. They’re trying to change but I don’t know that they’re really changing.” — Scannell

Next New Networks has a sense of humor about its place in the world, see for instance this spoof personal ad it posted on its site. Om had given the company an earful earlier this year, calling it “a bunch of old media guys, getting into this new video game, cash in on the user-generated buzz that comes with a $1.65 billion buyout and $50 CPM.”

Turned out everybody loves the same Indian restaurant around the block from NNN in New York City, so Om and Scannell decided they’d agree to disagree on whether NNN can figure out what works in the world of internet video.

Next New Networks has raised $8 million in funding from Spark Capital, Saban Capital Group, Benchmark Capital Europe, and The Pilot Group (Bob Pittman). Former AOL Chairman and CEO Jonathan Miller recently joined its board.

Its first five networks are Channel Frederator (cartoon), Fast Lane Daily (auto news), PulpSecret (comic book news), Threadbanger (DIY fashion), VOD Cars (car enthusiasts), with Veracifier (original reporting and politics) coming soon. The networks consist of one or more shows with three to eleven minutes of daily or weekly programming.

For another take on the story, you can read The New York Times.

14 Responses to “Ping Pong at Next New Networks”

  1. Your time at Rocketboom was much more than 1 month. Tim, don’t downplay your involvement!

    Looking back through my emails you were helping us with the business side of things from mid-February to mid-May 2006. “Managing Producer” would make sense, although I don’t think we ever officially decided on a title.

    Tim was also the mobile producer for the Amanda Across America videoblog.

    I wrote a post about Next New Networks here:

    Good luck, Tim!

  2. Andrew is right to correct the term producer, which is a very special title at Rocketboom — namely, his — and refers to the creative, which I did not work on. My role was consulting with company for a while, business advising and dealing with partnerships, and got me a “managing producer” credit on the site for a time.

    Andrew and Amanda deserved all the credit for the success at Rocketboom — I was happy to help them out at a key time, and had a really great time doing it.

  3. liz, enjoyed the ping pong and finding common ground with Om on good eats. One thing though–I didn’t say “we’re more like a portal”. I think the statement was more like “we’re not trying to create some kind of destination company; we’re NOT a portal”. Our networks have their own URL’s. We want people to experience each as stand alone networks. We don’t have anything to do with creating a portal or aggregating our content as such.