Next New Networks Restructures, Cuts Staff

Online video production studio Next New Networks, which was struggling even before the global financial meltdown, has laid off about 7 staffers, a source told paidContent. A spokesman for the company declined to provide an exact number. The staff shakeup came as part of a wider move to restructure the company into “audience development” and “programming” units.

Those responsibilities were previously aligned together under co-founder Tim Shey, who will now head up the audience development group. Kathleen Grace, who has worked with Next New’s producer team since late 2008, will head the programming group. Release

Last year, the New York-based company lost a high-profile client when left-of-center political news blog Talking Points Memo cut its ties, opting to go it alone for its video distribution.

At the time, NextNew said it would refine its content along autos, fashion and entertainment lines, although it did get briefly into politics when it bought “Obama Girl” creator BarelyPolitical.

Just over a year ago, co-founder Herb Scannell moved out of the CEO seat to become executive chairman. The former vice chairman of MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA) and president of Nickelodeon failed to score a notable hit, which NextNew had been banking on.

Although there seemed to be a lot of promise in the video aggregation business two years ago, even with advertising in the space still expected to maintain healthy growth, there are simply too many companies and attention from viewers is spread pretty thin. Many of NextNew’s rivals, like online video studio Generate, have put a heavy focus on offering additional services like talent management. Since it launched in early 2007, NextNew has raised roughly $23 million in funding from Goldman Sachs; Spark Capital; Saban Capital; Velocity Interactive Group (now Fuse Capital); and Bob Pittman. Former Velocity partner and current News Corp (NYSE: NWS) digital head Jon Miller previously held a seat on the company’s board; that has since been transfered to his erstwhile Fuse partner Ross Levinsohn.