YouTube takes another step toward premium content with Next New Networks

YouTube-NNNAntoine Dodson, mashups, and hyperactive pets be damned! YouTube wants professional video content and nothing will stand in its way. Google announced today that it acquired Web video company Next New Networks in its latest move toward premium videos. The New York Times first reported the collaboration in December, and now it’s finally come to fruition.

YouTube also recently entered talks to reach out to famous faces and pay them up to $5 million for a branded channel. The effort would obviously make YouTube a far more attractive advertising space, and undoubtedly would win itself quite a few new viewers. Now, it looks like improving it’s own original programming with the help of Next New Networks.

While YouTube has a wide audience and could easily find success in the online streaming market, it’s taking on some formidable opponents. The likes of Netflix and Hulu (and now, Amazon Prime) have established (to varying degrees) a foothold on online video, while YouTube will be relatively new to this game. According to the YouTube blog, the acquisition will act as “a laboratory for experimentation and innovation with the team working in a hands-on way with a wide variety of content partners and emerging talent to help them succeed on YouTube.”

YouTube also says that while it has “hundreds of partners making six figures a year…frankly, ‘hundreds’ making a living on YouTube isn’t enough and in 2011 we know we can and should do more to help our partners grow.” How exactly it’s going to do that isn’t quite clear yet: It almost sounds like Next New Networks will be a trial-and-error program. The company partnered with AOL last year to launch “The One,” a two-minute commentary homepage feature that was a major part of AOL’s new video platform.

YouTube devotees, an ever-growing demographic, are about to witness an interesting transition in its evolution. It’s distancing itself from video footage of everyday people and places and things (and cats…so many cats…), the very concept that made it an Internet sensation, in favor of semi-celebrity and processed programming. That isn’t to say this won’t be a successful move: The professional vlogger is becoming more and more of a reputable profession in the digital community, and the more Internet-savvy average consumers become, the more they expect out of Web content. So it’s not necessarily a bad move on Google’s party – but it comes with some risk attached.

Gaming

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Home Theater

Looking for the best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy? Here are five great options

If it's time to upgrade your old 1080p to a new 4K model but you don't know what to look for, fear not, as we're here with a list of the best 4K Ultra HD TVs to help make your buying process as easy as possible.
Movies & TV

The best Amazon Original series, from 'Bosch' to 'Transparent'

Amazon Studios may not have as big a collection of in-house productions as Netflix, but there are still lots of shows worthy of your eyeballs. Here are our picks for the best Amazon original series.
Movies & TV

HBO Go vs. HBO Now: Which streaming service is right for you?

If you're looking to get access to HBO, you might be comparing HBO Go and HBO Now. We break down the differences between the twin streaming services and see how they compare to one another.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.
Movies & TV

Lose the torrents. Here's how to watch 'Game of Thrones' online (legally)

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for January 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Movies & TV

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel conjures up a director and a release date

Doctor Strange director and co-writer Scott Derrickson will return to helm the Sorcerer Supreme's next big-screen adventure. Filming will begin in 2020, after Strange's mysterious Avengers: Endgame fate is resolved.