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YouTube and Next New Networks: A History in Links

After several years as partners, YouTube (s GOOG) finally acquired Next New Networks, capping months of speculation that the web video startup would become a part of the video share site’s content machine.

So how did we get here? Here’s a history of Next New Networks and its flirtations with YouTube over the past four years:

Jan. 2007: Ex-MTV Exec’s Video Startup Raises $8M – The saga started back in January 2007, when Next New Networks launched with a funding round of $8 million. Founded by some old media execs, the startup sought to make a name for itself in short-form web video.

Oct. 2007: Next New Networks Ponies Up for its Crush on Obama Girl – Next New Networks has its first big hit with Barely Political‘s Obama girl videos, which tap into the zeitgeist of the upcoming 2008 election.

June 2008: Next New Networks CEO to Step Down – Co-founder Herb Scannell announces he will step down as CEO, as the company seeks a replacement who is more operationally minded.

Sep. 2008: Next New Networks Finds CEO Replacement – Next New hires former Seevast CEO Lance Podell to take over.

July 2009: Next New Networks Reorgs, Reduces, Refocuses With New Hire – Next New Networks laid off about five employees and hired Kathleen Grace to lead what would eventually become the Next New Creators Program.

Dec. 2009: Hey, Creators! Next New Networks Wants to Be Your BFF – Next New announced the launch of its Creators Program, which would take the startup out of video production and make its business all about finding and promoting promising independent talent.

June 2010: Next New Networks’ Next New Business Model – We explain how Next New Networks uses its marketing prowess and the Next New Creators Program to become an incubator of web video talent.

July 2010: YouTube Launches 4K HD Streaming, $5M Partner Grant Fund – YouTube announces that it will give grants to promising YouTube partners to help fund production of future videos.

July 2010: YouTube Partner Grants Aren’t That New And Aren’t That Easy to Get – It turns out that Next New Networks’ The Key of Awesome was an inaugural recipient of YouTube’s partner grants, signifying that YouTube believed the Next New and Barely Digital folks knew what they were up to.

Sep. 2010: Next New Networks Chairman, CEO Swap Roles – After leading the startup through the transition from digital production house to talent acquisition and promotion, CEO Lance Podell steps down to make way for co-founder Fred Seibert to take the reins at Next New.

Dec. 2010: Next New Networks’ Success Extends Past YouTube’s Most Viewed – Next New programming took the top two slots on YouTube’s most-watched list for the year 2010.

Dec. 2010: YouTube & Next New Networks: Crossing the Content Line? – Rumors that YouTube will acquire Next New Networks emerge, and we ask other YouTube partners what they think of the video share site potentially investing in one of their competitors.

Feb. 2011: What Does YouTube Get By Acquiring Next New Networks? – As rumors begin to swirl again, we explore what YouTube actually gets from an acquisition of Next New. The answer: kickass brands like Barely Digital and Auto-Tune the News, as well as some great talent scouting.

Feb. 2011: Will Next New Networks Lead YouTube’s Hollywood Plans? – As news emerges that YouTube is seeking to sign up celebrities to use its platform, we think Next New could help lead those Hollywood ambitions.

March 2011: It’s Official: YouTube Buys Next New Networks – After years of partnering and months of rumors, YouTube finally brings Next New Networks under its umbrella to become a core component of the new YouTube Next program.

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