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Next New Networks Makes Official Debut; Jon Miller Joins Board

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Next New Networks will get a lot of mileage with its plans for 101 micro nets in five years but it’s only launching with five. Luckily, it also comes with a pedigree — the co-founders include former MTVN exec Herb Scannell, former Sundance COO Jed Simmonds, former Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert — and $8 million in funding led by Spark Capital. Other initial investors included Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group (Pittman also was an MTV exec before AOL) and Christiane zu Salm, founder of German interactive TV channel 9Live. Publicity for the launch included word that more investors– Saban Capital Group and Benchmark Capital Europe — had joined the first round but Scannell told me that the amount of money raised didn’t increase. The company also announced the addition of Jon Miller, former chairman and CEO of AOL, to the board of directors. Scannell is CEO; the company has 13 employees and some freelancers.
The first five micro-nets each are aimed at a different niche or micro-niche; part of the start-up’s conceit is that each network is a niche site with its own community. Fast Lane Daily, the latest news on cars; VOD Cars; Threadbanger about DIY fashion; Channel Frederator, cartoons; and PulpSecret, comic book news and culture. Veracifier, a sixth site on the way, will feature a daily show from political blogger Joshua Micah Marshall and his team. The show may be political but NNN execs say the network will not be. (The name makes me think of something amok in Jurassic Park.)
Target: The initial target audience is target audience is 18
Content: News, enthusiast and DIY. Think compact or, the popular term these days, snacks. Full-length would be 10 minutes; most shows will be 6-8 minutes. Networks can have multiple shows
Distribution: In addition to its own sites, new and archived footage will be on iTunes and YouTube. Users are encouraged to share video, retrieve it with RSS or use an “always fresh” option to make sure new content is delivered right to the embedded player. Scannell: “if we’re going to effectively be of the community they should be able to take it.”
Not a portal: While the company has its own info site and each network has a link back, NNN is not meant to be a portal tying all the sites together. At the same time, they hope to offer target advertising across similarly grouped sites and there will be cross-promotion.
Mobile: Tim Shay, co-founder and VP-network development: “We’d really like to be (in mobile). our point of view is we want to be able to reach as many viewers as possible; we’re not interested in premium.” They want an ad-supported mobile model, not exclusivity or subscription.
Advertising: Scannell: “The feedback I’ve gotten (from agencies) is what we’re doing seems to be in mind with what they say a lot of our clients want to see happen.”