After several months of rumors rustling, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) YouTube is acquiring Next New Networks.

It's easy to play this up as a troubling sign of the country's most popular video-sharing site snapping up content. Next New Networks, after all, is the company that gave us Obama Girl's launching vehicle Barely Political and the Indy Mogul filmmaking series.

However, Next New Networks isn't just about proprietary content. It's a platform for some of YouTube's budding stars to gain even more exposure. Between its advertising network, distribution channels, audience development, and branding initiatives, Next New Networks offers the tools for content creators to stand out.

In other words, YouTube is snapping up a pioneer in empowering individual content creators. It's essentially buying a minor league farm club system complete with talent scouts, coaches, and media reps.

The move won't make a dent in Google's cash-rich coffers. The New York Times reports that YouTube will be paying less than $50 million for Next New Networks.

It's a smart move. The last thing that Google wants is to have Next New Networks fall into a rival's hands.

Hulu -- the fast-growing site bankrolled by Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBC Universal, Disney (NYSE: DIS), and News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS) -- could have used this as a way to dip its toes into video-sharing through a vetted talent scout. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes is already a Next New Networks distribution partner. Even TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) could have made a play here, using its couch potato-tracking acumen to effectively monetize viral videos.

The rub, of course, is that the vast majority of YouTube users and content creators will never be part of the Next New Networks family. If they see this as YouTube playing favorites, the resentment can get problematic. That's highly unlikely to happen, but the ball is in Google's court to make sure that it lets Next New Networks flourish independently from what's happening at YouTube itself.

Should YouTube be acquiring content or content enablers? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is ready to officially classify himself as a clip culture junkie. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article, except for Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.