MCNs have unmistakably become a part of the YouTube universe. You hear all kind of rumours about them.
Multi-Channel-Networks (MCNs) are first and foremost what the name already suggests. It is a network of multiple channels.
What is special to them is that they are operating only on YouTube. There are common questions about MCNs that this blogpost will elaborate on.
What is more, a pro and con line-up will help you understand MCNs better. In the end, you’ll be able to make up your mind about MCNs.
What Is A Multi-Channel-Network?
MCNs sign multiple YouTube channels to their roster. Just like a Multi-Tv-Platform, they combine various channels.
However, most have a common theme, like there are MCNs for gaming or beauty YouTube channels. Important to realize, there are also dedicated MCN’s for record labels or musicians.
Google has a service dictionary where you can find Google approved MCNs listed.
MCNs Can Offer A Creator A Lot Of Help
A MCN offers support to the creator or help with funding expensive video creating ideas. In exchange for their work, they take a cut of the AdSense income of the creator.
In fact, AdSense is Google’s advertising tool for all its outlets, including YouTube. That means that you need an AdSense account to participate in the advertising world of YouTube. Another hurdle to take is that you need to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program. To: A. earn ad revenue and B. be able to sign a contract with an MCN.
The special thing about MCNs is that they have a direct work relationship with YouTube. They gain access to the backend CMS (content management system) of YouTube where they can have analytical tools as well as the Content ID system. Content ID is the copyright checker that is constantly running in the back of YouTube.
There are two different ways a MCN is handling its channels. Signed YouTube channels are either Affiliate Channels or they are Owned & Operated.
Affiliate Channel means that the ownership over the video content is still with the video creator.
Owned & Operator means that the creator has done a buy-out and the rights to the content are entire with the MCN.
How Do MCNs Make Money?
MCNs make money by taking a cut of the advertorial income of the signed creators. The advert income is based on the CPM metric.
That means Cost-Per-Mille (cost per thousand ad impressions). For example, if the CPM for you is 3€ and you have 1.000.000 ad views, that will make you 3,000€ in advertisement income.
Depending on the contract the creator has signed with a MCN, they can take a cut up to 50% (in some cases even more). A point often overlooked is that YouTube will also take a share of the advert income in the first place.
There are no exact numbers that YouTube or its mother company Google have publicly verified. However, most experts estimate a cut of 45% that YouTube will take.
That means that the creator will need to share their 55% of advert income again with the MCN.
MCNs Will Take A Cut Of Your Advert Income
Some MCNs also make direct brand deals for the creators, taking a cut at the deal too. That means that the creator will produce video content demoing the new product of the brand or incorporating it into the content.
It is not uncommon for MCNs to also make deals with smaller video platforms or websites to distribute their content on Youtube. Again, taking a cut for that service.
Another big income block is the Content ID system. If the creator as a huge back-catalogue of material or for example old songs, the MCN can generate income from that too.
Let’s make an example of a record label that has a deal with a MCN. The MCN can upload all old songs from the back-catalogue of the record label to the CMS backend of the Content ID system.
Then, if a fan uploads a cover song to YouTube, the MCN (in partnership with the label) can choose to leave the video on YouTube but to monetize it.
That means that even though the cover song has violated copyright law, the owner (in this case the record label) has decided to monetize it. I.e. the ad revenue will go to the record label (and a cut to the MCN).
Why Do YouTubers Join Networks?
There are many reasons why a YouTuber with an own channel wants to join an MCN. Sometimes they are also scouted just like a musician is scouted by an A&R manager.
Multi-Channel-Networks can offer many perks due to their sheer size and monetary impact of their investment power. The support they’ll offer can come in the form of production and editing tools and facilities.
They can help with monetization as well as cross-promotion with other channels on their roster. They are also very good with digital rights management such as Content ID.
If you are busy making new content at a high rate every week, you’ll probably don’t have the nerves to deal with copyright infringements. Maybe you are just simply not the type of guy who wants to handle this.
What is more, MCNs also can offer training as well as guidance for diversifying your portfolio maybe with acting roles or a book deal.
MCNs oftentimes sign a huge number of YouTube creators. This means that they’ll not have that much time for every single one of them.
The danger is that you are only popular with the MCN if you are super up-to-date with content creation. As soon as you fall behind the schedule you’ll drop in favour with them.
Also, a lot of creators experience some form of crisis during their career. Over-sharing of their personal life can take its toll. In addition, being in the public eye at a young age (for most YouTubers the case) can be intimidating at times.
However, the MCNs are not charities. As soon as you are not profitable anymore the MCN won’t put a lot of investment into your case.
Another danger with MCNs is that the deals can be quite the adhesion contracts. Some creators haven’t taken a minute to read the contracts thoroughly in the past.
Subsequently signing bad deals that make their content stay with the MCN for literally eternity.
There is a lot to think about with MCNs
No matter your stance towards MCNs and their way with YouTube creators. They can have pros as well as cons. I personally had a good experience with GoodToGo’s MCN. The manager was always available to explain things and to helped a great deal.
Without a doubt, they become part of the Youtube universe. Just as the internet is ever-changing, the world of MCNs and YouTubers is not set in stone.
Will they be around in ten years time? Nobody knows. What is for certain though, is that that they have a huge impact on YouTube creators as well as on the advertising side of video content.
I hope you’ve learned a couple of facts about MCN and know your way around them better now. If you got curious and want to learn more about YouTube here is: The Ultimate Guide To YouTube!