Next New Networks is seeking to tap into its music DNA with the launch of a new video site with a funny name: $99 Music Videos. The idea is to offer emerging artists and filmmakers a low-cost promotional vehicle — as anyone can submit their video (provided it cost about $99 to produce), and fans can rate their favorite submissions.
The N.Y.-based digital content production and distribution company has signed on Verizon (NYSE: VZ) as the exclusive launch partner, promoting its FiOS internet service with banners and graphics throughout the site. It’s not clear whether this is an extended partnership, or if the site will need to drum up new sponsors over the coming months — but launching with ad dollars already in hand gives $99 Music Videos some breathing room while it tries to acquire a bigger audience. Next New Networks’ Co-founder and Creative Director Fred Seibert was MTV’s original creative director and subsequently held the role of president of *MTV Networks* Online. Last month, the company rolled out Barely Digital, a video site that spoofs the new media and tech space.
Rory adds: This is an interesting attempt to marry music discovery with online video in a way that advertisers may find attractive. But the company isn’t entering unchartered waters. Several years ago, a site call Music Nation (www.musicnation.com) launched an almost identical site that called for unsigned bands to upload their music videos as part of a contest that awarded the winner with a record deal from Epic Records (though there was no cap on production costs). The site had difficulty building an audience and attracting advertisers and has since changed course, re-formatting the site as more of a community where emerging musicians and fans connect.