It is no secret that YouTube has become one of the most significant search engines globally, with over 2 billion logged-in users per month. It is one of the top five most visited sites and streams more than 1 billion hours of video per day. If you are looking for a way to monetize this vast potential audience, then a Multi-Channel Networks (MCN) may have the answers for your channel and your brand.

What is an MCN?

Understanding Multi-Channel Networks can be complicated. Google support gives an overview, which you can find here.

In a nutshell, MCNs are businesses that affiliate with YouTube channels — and sometimes other video sharing platforms — to manage, promote and monetize your channel and its brand. MCNs offer services that curtail the complexity that comes with creating and editing videos, building an audience and getting sponsors. This means MCNs serve as the bridge between creative content and sprouting wings.

Benefits of being a part of YouTube MCN

Not every program or opportunity is suitable for every content creator. MCNs are no exception to the rule. The potential benefit of joining an MCN depends on your channel’s size, popularity, and long-term ambitions. MCNs can offer successful YouTuber management by growing and monetizing their channel. They can also provide access to production facilities and set up collaborations with stars and celebrities. For the smaller YouTuber, working with an ideal influencer has many advantages. MCNs also offer better brand access to businesses looking to sponsor video content on YouTube. MCNs have connections to companies looking to invest video content on YouTube. Suppose you’re looking to grow your channel and brand, or looking for help in producing high-quality videos and managing advertising profits. In that case, MCNs can be not only beneficial but ideal.

Pros and cons of joining an MCN

Every business venture has a downside. MCNs create opportunities for partnership and monetization. However, when you work with a network, you’re obligated to give a percentage of your channel’s revenue away. MCNs often take a considerable portion of earnings, and that compensation may not be worth the service. You should always read through your contracts and seek legal advice before signing on with any Multi-Channel Network. Many YouTubers have fallen victim to broken promises and disagreements over contract details. When dealing with MCNs, YouTubers must keep in mind that they’re still businesses.

MCNs have connections to companies looking to invest video content on YouTube.

According to YouTube forums on Reddit and other social networks, there have been some incidents where content creators found their contracts with MCNs misleading or obstructive. One example is Maker Studios, who supposedly bulldozed a famous YouTuber into signing an agreement that would give 40% of his channel revenue and 50% of the intellectual property rights to the company. However, there have been examples of content creators who have benefited from joining MCNs. For example, Tastemade is known to help optimize channels and brands of YouTubers who cater to niche food audiences.

The future of multi-channel networks and you

MCNs continue to expand today. Major entertainment companies have begun buying MCNs to gain access to their large, engaged audiences. They now own creative properties and video production studios and distribute products across multiple channels. Today’s MCNs have even evolved into full-scale media companies and manage hundreds to thousands of YouTubers. Back in 2014, Disney bought Maker Studios for a whopping $500 million. RTL Group acquired BroadbandTV for $36 million in 2013. And, according to Adweek, Tastemade received $40 million in Series D funding from Goldman Sachs.

The bottom line for the future of MCNs is that, as YouTube grows, so do the platform’s content creators and the top Multi-Channel Networks. And even though you don’t need to join an MCN to be successful on YouTube, MCNs can benefit everyone involved. Both YouTubers and MCNs have come and gone. However, because audiences continue to consume more content online than on television, the world’s most popular video-sharing platform continues to expand.