When I was in New York City last year I had a great meeting with Fred Seibert the founder and CEO of Next New Networks. A company that you may not have heard of but whose videos you certainly would have seen. Auto Tune The News, The Key Of Awesome, Barely Political, Obama Girl are just some of the brands that are in the Next New Networks stable. This week Next New Networks were acquired by YouTube to form a brand new entity YouTube Next. So I dusted off this interview with Fred for you to enjoy. Here he talks about the challenges of convincing advertisers that the Internet is real, as well as the close relationship that Next New Networks has with YouTube. I found Fred to be an inspiring guy who is making it all up…but in all the right ways.
People who are successful in traditional media, have trouble adapting the things that make them work in traditional media, they don’t necessarily transfer over. People that work in traditional media think that they already have succeeded, they think that they have the secrets.
I’m amazed everyday. It took us nine months to hit 100 million, then this last summer we hit 100 million a month, and now we’re having conversations around here about how can we get a billion a month. So we’re asking ourselves, what is the code that gets us to a billion a month? And how do we engage with advertisers in a more effective way? Which is harder than getting to a billion a month.
The advertising business is the lagging indicator on media. I was in New Media 30 years ago, when New Media meant cable television. It was a similar problem then.
The Agency’s default position is to tell you “NO” before they ask their client. They come on board to new media right at the end. There’s a generation gap with video digital media and advertisers. Advertisers are acknowledging that the future is coming, but they’re trying very hard to make the future act just like the past, so that they’re comfortable with it.
And because we’re on the bleeding edge, and trying to work out how this all goes, we are determined to do this correctly. I keep saying around here, we need to be bigger, better, faster.
You Tube is our biggest distributor and even they have trouble with advertisers. So far they’ve been a complete partner. when you have too much of your business with one partner it’s always scary, but so far they’ve been an awesome partner.
When they make a move into an area we try and understand it. When we make a move into an area they try really hard to understand it.
The first time we walked in and were going to launch an original series, and we said we’re going to launch this animation every Thursday at noon. And someone very high up there said “Why”, and I said “Why what? Why Thursday or why noon?” he said “Why either, what difference does it make, it’s YouTube, just put it up any time you want.” and I said, well you know maybe we’re a little old fashioned, maybe we’re too tied to TV ways of thinking, but we think that human beings like dependability, and even though they don’t have to find it at that particular time, they know a schedule exists, somehow or other their internal clocks work that way, and they just rolled their eyes and laughed and said “Good do whatever you want” and 100 million views later they were like..”oooh tell us what you guys know” and interestingly within YouYube there is a religious war between the algorithmics vs the traditionalists and I think that tension has helped YouTube dramatically, because they bring in two radically different points of view and have figured out a way to meld them together.
We’re going to continue to lead the business in terms of engaging audiences. We thought about YouTube when no one else really did, and we continue to do that.