You are a keen YouTuber and really enjoy making videos and sharing them with the world. Your channel is hopefully growing nicely and you are starting to wonder what could take you to the next level. Many content creators just like you will start considering joining a Multi-Channel Network.
“Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs) are entities that affiliate with multiple YouTube channels, often to offer assistance in areas such as product, programming, funding, cross-promotion, partner management, digital rights management, monetization/sales, and/or audience development. These companies are not affiliated with or endorsed by YouTube or Google.”
In other words, MCNs are independent companies that are not owned by YouTube and are there to help creators utilise what YouTube has to offer. In exchange for a percentage of your revenue, they offer assistance with channel management, claim disputed or strikes and will often help you with finding brand deals and just make sure that your channel is the best it can be.
They can be truly helpful but before signing up, you should ask yourself some questions to see if you are ready to join and if they will actually benefit you.Do I have User Generated Content (UGC)?
We don’t mean your own created content. We mean UGC that other people copy from your videos and upload on their channels. If this happens a lot and you’re are losing revenue because the ripped off version gets more views, an MCN can help you a lot with either blocking these to divert traffic to your channel or monetizing these views for you, which means you receive your rightful money. Note that you cannot claim content on these other channels by just joining the YouTube partner program, you will need to join an MCN. If you don’t get much UGC, there may not be much point if the channel isn’t growing particularly fast or has a very big reach as one of the main helpful activities MCN’s provide is to automatically claim your content that is uploaded by others. You will probably make more money by not sharing a portion of your income with an MCN in the absence of UGC.
Unfortunately, most MCN’s will only welcome you aboard if you have reached a certain number of views. This can be anything from 500k to 1 million or even more, depending on the network. They do this to ensure that they are helping more established channels to grow even more and to see that you are taking it seriously. A network will typically examine if the channel is big enough and has the potential for growth. This may be a little upsetting, but after all, these are still businesses and they cannot offer help without anything in return. If the network brings you in without proper checks, there may be something not right with the overall quality of service that the network provides. After all, several networks have shut down in recent times due to mismanagement.
If you aren’t making many videos and only post something once in a while without any real structure or purpose other than to have your content out there and are happy with it, then an MCN may not be for you. Of course, you can still join and enjoy the benefits if they are applicable to your channel. But if YouTube really is just a little hobby and you don’t need assistance, stick to your plan and grow in your own time. If you do however have a lot of content and make lots of videos, a network can schedule these and automate uploads, making things a lot easier for you and uploading them at exactly the time you want them to go live.
MCN’s really are great for taking care of the monetary side of things. Usually, you will receive a payment at the end of the month, from any advertisements played on your YouTube channel minus the share that you would have agreed on with the network. What’s great is that they can also offer you more formats of ads to be played on your videos and channel, increasing your revenue by quite a bit. But, as mentioned before, these MCN’s are companies and you will need to earn a certain amount. You won’t be released from the network when revenue drops for a month or so, but before you join, they may typically ask or have a look at your potential income to offer you a commercial deal.