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Former MTV Networks vice chairman Herb Scannell has resurfaced as CEO of a new-media company.
Scannell, who left amid an executive shake-up in January 2006, has been named CEO of Next New Networks, a media company launching in the next couple of months that will facilitate video, Web sites and other content for Internet-based communities.
Spark Capital, a digital media venture capital firm, will provide the company with $8 million in funding.
Scannell said each network will target a niche community online with a Web site, daily or weekly shortform original and user-generated video content and that it will be available on iPods and other mobile devices.
He said it will be launching a “bunch” of networks that would be structured under the Next New Networks umbrella the same way MTV or Nickelodeon is associated with Viacom.
“Our idea is to make a company that would make multiple networks that would be targeting communities that were robust on the Internet,” Scannell said. “With the Internet, it’s an opportunity to drill down deeper with the broadcasts.”
There will be advertising on the networks, and Scannell said marketers have been “receptive” to the idea thus far. “The idea of organizing video on the Internet is a good idea because there’s a lot of it out there,” he said. “Brands help to provide navigation.”
This is the latest move for Scannell, who resigned as president of Nickelodeon Networks in January 2006 after holding the position for nine years and expanding the brand to include feature films, magazines and live theatrical shows. He was named vice chairman of MTV Networks in 2003.
The idea for this new venture came together in the summer when Scannell met with several executives who would become the partner group of the company, which includes Fred Seibert, the original creative director of MTV; Emil Rensing, an original member of AOL Greenhouse; and Jed Simmons, former chief operating officer of the Sundance Group and senior executive at Turner Broadcasting.
Scannell said that after his resignation, he had met with many companies and decided that the “audience” was what interested him most. With this group, he found like-minded individuals.
“The Internet is about niching into communities,” Scannell said. “Then that audience is proliferating and prospering and sharing material.”
The strategic direction of Next New Networks is not unlike where MTVN is headed next. In November, the division’s music and logo group said that it was planning on launching a stable of 20 vertical Web channels later this year that would tap a wide range of niche interests.
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