Google Inc's YouTube is in talks to buy Web show maker Next New Networks in what would be the video sharing site's first foray into content production, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The proposed price has not been disclosed, according to the New York Times, which cited two people briefed on the discussions.
Buying Next New Networks would make sense for YouTube, said ThinkEquity analyst Aaron Kessler, especially because YouTube has run into copyright problems with some professionally produced videos that people have added to the site.
They're basically looking for more content they can monetize, especially if they can produce the content themselves, he said. You don't want to go full bore into becoming a media company, which Google is not, but if you can selectively acquire a few properties, it makes sense.
Representatives for YouTube and New York-based Next New Networks declined comment.
YouTube has sought to increase its share of professionally produced content as it faces competition from the likes of Hulu, a joint venture whose backers include media companies News Corp, Walt Disney Co's ABC, and NBC, controlled by General Electric.
Viacom Inc sued YouTube for $1 billion, accusing the video site of allowing copyrighted videos to play online without permission. Earlier this year, a New York federal judge threw out the lawsuit.
Fred Seibert, CEO and co-founder of Next New Networks, was a creative director at Viacom-owned MTV, but not when the company sued YouTube.
Next New Networks began in 2007 and is behind the Web comedy show Barely Political and the online cartoon network Channel Frederator.
During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Barely Political won millions of online views of its comedy videos featuring Obama Girl, a singing and dancing devotee of then presidential candidate Barack Obama.
This year, Next New Networks scored another online video hit with its parody Bed Intruder Song, which was the top viewed entry of 2010 at YouTube.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis. Editing by Robert MacMillan)