Scannell Steps Aside As Next New Networks CEO

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Herb Scannell, the former MTV Networks executive who brought Nickelodeon to prominence, will step aside as CEO of the Internet TV venture he founded—Next New Networks—as the company looks for a chief executive with experience in managing a Web business.

Scannell, who will remain chairman, announced the change in a blog posting on Next New Networks’ site last Friday.

The New York-based startup’s strategy is to launch as many as 100 “micro-networks” that are too niche-oriented to survive on cable, such as the do-it-yourself fashion video site ThreadBanger.

Next New Networks has started 16 networks to date, “some of which thrived and continue, and others that didn’t and wilted away,” Scannell said in his blog. “But that’s ok—that’s entertainment—and we’re happy where we are today with close to a dozen strong and more to come.”

In the post, Scannell said he decided (with the board’s approval) to look for a CEO to run the day-to-day operations of Next New Networks and to “go beyond video.”

“Thus far, we’ve been video-centric, built our network model, and got distribution and advertising up and running,” he wrote. “Now, I want to see us go beyond video by building up our Web capabilities in key categories, and move the company to make our sites and new offerings even more robust for communities to gather and interact. Hence, I plan on bringing in someone as CEO who has ‘been there, done that’ in building a Web business, and who will work with me as Executive Chairman.”

Next New Networks in March received $15 million in a second round of funding led by Goldman Sachs and Velocity Interactive Group. Previous investors Spark Capital and Saban Media Group also contributed to the round. The startup had raised $8 million in first-round funding in late 2006.

Scannell left MTVN in January 2006. Nickelodeon on his watch became the most popular kids-targeted network. He also spearheaded the launch of Noggin/The N, Nicktoons and Nick GAS (Games and Sports), as well as the network’s broadband-video service, TurboNick.

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