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Will Next New Networks Lead YouTube’s Hollywood Plans?

Next New Networks’ days as an indie may truly be numbered; a filing with the SEC today indicates the company is on its way to being bought out any day now. And a new report suggests that Next New’s rumored suitor, Google, (s GOOG) could use the startup’s marketing and promotional expertise to court celebs for their own content channels.

The SEC filing alludes to $19.4 million in equity, options and convertible debt financing. The first date of sale is March 2007 and the filing includes “several distinct transactions between 2007 and 2010,” so it seemingly wraps up any loose ends before an expected acquisition by Google.

When buzz around this deal intensified last week, what we observed about Next New Networks was that the company has evolved since its original founding; it now serves much more as a distributor and developer of web content than a production house, thanks to the Next New Creators program.

This is what makes a report from New York Magazine all the more intriguing; according to the story, YouTube is offering millions to “name-brand Hollywood types” to create content for their channels. Comparisons could be drawn to Funny or Die’s celebrity-powered content, but according to New York Mag, the proposal to celebs is much more extensive than just cameoing in an original short:

In exchange for creating a genre-specific, celebrity-branded YouTube channel and packing it full of original, three-minute-long shows, the celeb would get to retain ownership of the channel’s content. YouTube, in turn, would get its production investment back via ad revenue.

Genre-specific content owned by the talent, not the network? Boy, sure sounds a lot like what Next New Networks is doing, with channels of shows devoted to food, cars, fashion and film, all owned by the talent that creates it. The celebrity angle is new (as is the cash upfront), but Next New’s ability to manage multiple channels of content and the talent producing it is now one of their primary assets. And it’s becoming more clear that may be what Google is actually hoping to acquire.

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