Less than two weeks after YouTube/Google acquired on-demand video service Widevine, the search giant’s video property is said to be exploring a premium content acquisition of its own. According to the New York Times, YouTube is in talks to buy Next New Networks as we speak.
The New York based company is recognized as the independent online video producer behind more than 25 branded networks and popular Internet programming that are distributed through YouTube, regularly generating viral numbers that put them in the most watched weekly video lists.
In 2010, Next New Networks produced two of YouTube’s most watched videos of the year. The $26 million venture-backed startup is also celebrating more than 1.2 billion video views across its networks for the year.
The reported acquisition would obviously align well with the previous Widevine purchase and would help Google’s YouTube get into the video content production business. YouTube, then, would double as a destination site for its own premium content, material that it could monetize against better than the standard user-generated fare.
It’s too early to know if we’re looking at a strong competitor to let’s say a www.Trafficgeyser.com or not but it certainly looks like they might be heading in that direction. One would think that they would rank the Google’s YouTube produced videos higher than others given their history for giving preferential treatment to its revenue generating interests.
The first step would be a redesign of the YouTube homepage in preparation for upcoming options and to make it more of a social networking experience. Well, that just happened. YouTube has unveiled a new version of its homepage with the singular goal of turning it into a destination rather than an afterthought.
YouTube has been quietly testing a new version of the homepage for over a month now, but starting in Late December, the video website is letting all of its users opt into the new homepage. At first glance, it doesn’t look all that different.
There aren’t any radical changes to the design however, there have been several changes to the user interface that YouTube hopes will draw visitors to the homepage more regularly. The redesign (the first of several we hear) is designed to make the homepage more of a destination; conducive to promoting personal connections and social networking inneraction.
Below is a screenshot of the new YouTube homepage:
The biggest difference is the “combined list,” which is essentially a newsfeed combining your subscription, friend activity and recommendations. The company put all of these elements together because it wanted to make the experience simple and seamless, unlike the previous version, which is filled with recommendation boxes and pushes the newsfeed below the fold.
Personalization was also a key focus of the homepage redesign. Videos can be deleted from your homepage, and videos you’ve already watched will be grayed out so you know what you still have left to watch. The new homepage also loads more video content, resurfaces your most recent liked and favorite videos, placing links to your inbox and video comments more prominently.
What are your thoughts about the Google’s YouTube homepage changes and its positioning to take over more video real-estate?
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