More UGC on it’s way, thanks to Old School Viacom

Several cable television veterans are putting their band back together and taking their act to the Internet.

Next New Networks, a New York-based Internet start-up run and backed by former executives of MTV and Nickelodeon, will announce plans today to begin a series of video-oriented Web sites — what the company calls micro-networks — on niche topics like do-it-yourself fashion, comic books, car racing and cartoons.
The company’s founders include Herb Scannell, who as a top executive at Nickelodeon in the 1990s was responsible for introducing such enduring fare as SpongeBob SquarePants. Another founder, Fred Seibert, was the first creative director at MTV and was behind many of the channel’s early flourishes, like the “I Want My MTV” slogan.
The company will also announce that it has received $8 million in seed capital, in part from the Pilot Group, a media investment firm run by Robert W. Pittman, who created MTV and later overhauled Nickelodeon.

Mr. Miller, who left America Online last October under pressure from his bosses at Time Warner, cited the founders’ cable experience as the reason he is backing the company.

“To me these guys are returning to their roots,” he said. “They are unshackled from large media environment where it is much more about what your quarterly goals are, and can go back to developing new networks and ways of communicating with audiences.”

Next New Networks plans to blend elements of old and new media into a type of hybrid entertainment that is different from traditional television and user-generated sites like YouTube. Its various Web properties will revolve around professionally produced videos of three to eight minutes, which it plans to pitch to sponsors as safe and predictable places to advertise online.

Many of the programs will solicit contributions from their audiences, but the company will screen submissions before they approved as final product. The company plans to generate some programming itself while also identifying talented video contributors and bringing them into the Next New Networks fold.

Internet Start-Up to Take a Hybrid Media Approach – New York Times

Wow. I’m not quite sure what to say, other than a pleasantly surprised: Wow. If you take a look at that NY Times article, you can see some of the peeps I editted out of this quote. They’re REALLY packing a full house of talent. Big Leaguers. Moms & Pops of today’s go-to-pop-culture for tweens/teens/kids. My favorite is Mr. Miller’s comment about ‘roots.’ He is DEAD on. If I had gobs of money, I’d back them purely for their visionary success.

However– I want to know how they intend to screen all those submissions, and how they intend to protect the youth that will be interested in their theme-specific communities. They COULD be invoking the anti-U13/U16 right. But how fair is that for the “Cartoon” based community? Besides, with all that Nickelodeon-talent, I would hope they would involve kids.

This could prove to be the seeds of UGC power– like how early Nick was revolutionary in its wackiness… perhaps same will go for this initiative.

Trends, trends, trends. It’s crazy how UGC is spreading. It’s like a pre-infancy stage now. All the programming out now with UGC could just be the sparkle in the ultimate UGC’s eye. This year is going to be VERY interesting, if not exciting, for entertainment/power & the people. Hope it isn’t just a fad.

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