By and large, this would take Google into "uncharted territory" notes Fortune's Seth Weintraub. Until now, the search giant has preferred only to curate, organize and license content. It's still too soon to say if this heralds a major shift in direction for Google. As the Journal story notes, Next New Networks is likely a tiny purchase because its financials are in rough shape.
But is it a smart acquisition? Liz Shannon Miller at GigaOm gives it the thumbs up:
What Next New brings to the table... is years of experience in developing content for web audiences — experience they could potentially bring to creators beyond its previously defined channels.
Last month, Google Director of Product Development defined YouTube not as a media company, but as “a media catalyst,” one that he said wanted to “see content getting created, help it find the largest audience possible and make the content creators lots of money so they can reinvest in their vision.” When it comes to the first two goals, Next New has proven success — and maybe YouTube can make up the difference.