In simple terms, a multi-channel network is a type of organization that works with video platforms such as YouTube, to be able to give assistance in areas such as Product programming, funding, partner management, digital rights, and audience development.
In theory, MCNs collect and are responsible for representing talent to content creators that have popular YouTube channels, and package them for the advertisers in exchange for a slice of their income.
However, you should note that the offerings differ across different MCNs. Nonetheless, they can help content creators build and share their audiences, by providing them with access to production resources and even seek sponsors for the branded content opportunities.
Why are MCNs Popular
It has been estimated that in each month, YouTube has been able to draw about a billion unique visitors who have the privilege of watching a combined sum of about 6 billion hours of video. This massive user base that is about 40 percent of the world’s online population has been able to attract a new breed of company that we now call the Multichannel Network, the MCN.
The MCNs aggregate thousands of video channels and a massive community of content creators, who partner with YouTube to be able to syndicate and monetize their content while at the same time having the luxury of distributing videos on their own websites.
What you need to know about an MCN Contract
The prospect of getting to work with a company and grow your specific video channel is an appealing aspect to many, however, when getting into these contracts you should be aware that not all the networks have your best interest at heart.
Before getting your hands dirty with MCNs, get some advice from a contract lawyer. Ensure that you are up to speed with the law and fully understand what you are getting yourself into. With the help of an attorney, you can be able to avoid getting trapped.
It’s all about the money
Let’s be wholly honest, the MCNs are in it for the money! You are only allocated 55% of your advertising revenue, this is because Google takes 45%, and the MCNs take a slice of your remaining 55% at times, this might be as high as 30%. Not so appealing right?
Therefore, before you get to sign any contract or agreement, go through the specifications with your lawyer, and ensure that you fully understand what the MCN is going to do for you in return for offering them a share of your money.
Do proper research
Networks may tell you things to impress you, ensure that you investigate the MCN that you want to consider joining. Make sure you have checked the Networks reputation online, there are often unhappy clients who have offered informative rants.
Do a thorough search and investigate if they have heard any run-ins with the law and specifically in relations to contracts and violations, the chances are that you might suffer the same fate in their hands.
Promises that are too good
In case, the network is not willing to put a particular promise in your contract, and then it’s very unlikely that they will own up to it. In case they claim that they will get you brand sponsorship and increase your potential revenue, they ensure that they quantify that in your contract. Never sign anything that doesn’t say, “We guarantee this, by then, if not, you can leave.”
Things you need to note
- Never offer an MCN your own money. Even though they take a slice of your advertising revenue, they should never ask you to send them money up front, in case they do, seek assistance from your lawyers or visit an attorney. Always be suspicious of any network that will ask you to pay for a photo or show reel.
- With the assistance of a contract attorney, ensure that you have checked the duration of the contract. Avoid signing a contract for more than a year. This is because the online video scene changes so fast and a full year may seem like eternity. Watch out for auto renewals, some networks are known to renew your contract with them every year, it’s better to renegotiate since a lot can change in one year.
- In case you are unsure about the network ask for a trial before committing yourself to a full contract. This will give you a chance to gauge their offerings.
Lastly, you should note that the MCNs are purely after money. Makes sure that you are the one gaining the most out of your hard work, or else they might just maximize your efforts for their own benefit.
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