3 Tips to Negotiating a Good YouTube MCN Contract

You may be wondering whether or not you need to join a YouTube multi-channel network. There has been a rapid rise of online video studios and YouTube networks like Bigframe, Machinima, Fullscreen and a host of a lot more others that have newer options that creators can consider, however, the process of navigating this new world can be a bit overwhelming.

The prospect of working with a company to grow your channel and earn potentially more money is an appealing aspect to many creative producers, however, not all the networks around have your best interest at heart.

Getting an email from a YouTube multi-channel network may seem like a flattering and exciting gesture, but you need to be careful when signing up with these channels. The following are important tips that can assist you during an MCN contract:


Tip #1: You own the content so you have the power

Let’s get one thing straight, you own the content. Therefore, it has proven itself to the extent that you have built an audience and have some considerable audience, or just simply making some good work, and that’s exactly what the MCNs need. Their entire business model greatly relies on a creative like you to supply them with content so that they can thrive, generating viewership.

When the channel lacks views, then it means there will be no money, meaning no business. Therefore, your content in simple terms represents a business opportunity that they so desperately need. Therefore, when getting into a relationship with the MCNs, you will need to relate to it as a business.

So here’s the tip, never agree to get into a relationship with an MCN where they are passively siphoning off your income if they are not improving your prospects beyond what you had before you got into this relationship with them. Make sure that you weigh what you are giving against what you are getting, make sure that it is fair.

How will you know what is fair? There are no rules here, and what might be fair to you, might not be fair for another, seek legal advice from your attorney to make sure that you are getting the best deal out of your contract with the MCN.


Tip #2: Lawyer up before you sign any contract

Never sign the first draft of the contract that is sent to you by the network. When you first get the contract, that’s the beginning of the negotiation. You have every right in the world to have the things that you don’t like changed. You can communicate the changes by altering the contract and sending it back to the network.

Some of the contracts that are sent over by the MCNs are frankly absurd and should not be signed under any circumstances. The thing is, these companies have a legal team and lawyers on retainer, and they are paid to ensure the network gets the best deal possible, so unless you are a qualified entertainment lawyer, you are not qualified to beat these guys yet.

Therefore, you will need to get a hold of an entertainment Lawyer, pay them, and let them review your contract point by point with you to ensure that you understand what is going on.


Tip #3: Time moves fast online

Two-year contract? That a lifetime, this is the internet, time moves first. In Simple terms, a lot can happen in two years. Therefore as a starting point you should look at the contract term that lasts from six months to a year depending on the deal that you are getting with the network.

You should know that one reason the networks ask for a long term is so that they can reasonably sell you to their advertisers throughout the year, therefore, whatever you sign should take you out through the year. In this kind of situation, make sure you go through the contract with your attorney to determine the contract length with the network, and if the length will  be beneficial to your needs.


Need an Attorney to help you with your YouTube MCN contract? Sam Mollaei, Esq., YouTube Lawyer, can be reached by email sam@mollaeilaw.com or via phone (818) 925-0002.

Mollaei Law is a law firm specializing in business law serving businesses and entrepreneurs. We provide legal expertise in all stages of business development by drafting and reviewing contracts and agreements, assisting transactions and negotiating, forming LLC's and Corporations, registering trademarks and copyrights, business planning, and answering any legal questions you may have about your business.