A multi-channel network (MCN) is an organization that works with video platforms to offer assistance to a channel owner in areas such as "product, programming, funding, cross-promotion, partner management, digital rights management, monetization/sales, and/or audience development"in exchange for a percentage of the ad revenue from the channel.
The name multi-channel network has only recently begun to be standard, coined by former YouTube employee Jed Simmons (reportedly because of YouTube's distaste for the notion of "networks"). [ failed verification ]Prior to 2014 many names were used by the different companies, including Online Video Studio (OVS), Internet Television Company (ITC), YouTube Network or simply Network.
Sub-networksof MCNs are known as SubMCNs, Virtual Networks, Proprietary Networks, Content Distribution Networks, SMCNs, VNs, PNs, or CDNs.
They work by a company setting up an account with YouTube CMS (the system used for ContentID), the company adds anyone who signs a contract with them to their CMS, allowing users (and the CMS account owner) to use monetization, block and track policies. Monetization allows for videos to generate revenue, Block prevents access to videos and Track allows content owners to see the analytics of 'reuploads' and copyright infringing content. Some MCN partners can block videos by country (e.g., if a video is uploaded with a banned or unlicensed logo).
MCNs have been described as a means to "negate the hassle involved when seeking out your own advertising opportunities on the site."Advertisers who work with MCNs can pay for services including overlay adverts, product placement and in show sponsorships, aiming to gain repeated exposure, endorsement by YouTube personalities, and increased audience engagement, especially compared with television advertisements which are often ignored or skipped.
The benefits and drawbacks of partnering with a multi-channel network have been discussed by several high-profile YouTube creators, including Hank Green,Freddie Wong as well as YouTube itself.
The possible benefits can include:
There have been several controversies involving YouTube Networks.
Machinima has been criticised for the use of perpetual contracts.Ben Vacas, known to the YouTube community as "Braindeadly", attracted media attention in January 2013 over contractual issues with Machinima. Under the terms of his contract, Machinima were permitted to place advertisements on Vacas's videos and in return he would receive a percentage of the profits generated. However, the contract also disclosed that it existed "in perpetuity"; meaning Machinima would hold the rights to any content created by Vacas published on his partnered YouTube channel in his lifetime, a detail Vacas failed to read.
Machinima was criticised in early 2013 by high-profile YouTuber Athene for "intimidating... multiple partners" to sign a contract that would significantly lower their CPM. Athene called it "one of the worst deals on the internet" and advised his subscribers not to "sign with Machinima" stating that they could get a better arrangement with other networks.
Several MCNs have been purchased by larger corporations. In early 2014 Maker Studios was sold to Disney for $500 million,and Big Frame was sold to DreamWorks Animation through AwesomenessTV for $15 million. In June 2013, RTL Group invested $36 million in BroadbandTV Corp.
Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC is an American entertainment company headquartered in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2003 by Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Jason Saldaña, Gus Sorola, and Joel Heyman, Rooster Teeth is a subsidiary of Otter Media, which is itself a subsidiary of WarnerMedia Entertainment, a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia.
Discovery Digital Networks was a San Francisco based multi-channel Internet television and digital cable network that created, produced and distributed Web television shows on niche topics. It was sold by Discovery Communications into Group Nine Media in December 2016 and, as such, no longer exists.
Machinima, Inc. was a U.S.-based multiplatform online entertainment network owned by WarnerMedia. The company was founded in January 2000 by Hugh Hancock and was headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Freddie Wong is an American filmmaker, musician, VFX artist and competitive gamer. Wong participates in at least three YouTube channels, with RocketJump, his production company's main channel, supporting over 8 million subscribers, BrandonJLa, a secondary channel with behind the scenes videos and other content, which holds over 1.2 million subscribers, and Node, a gaming channel with over 2.4 million subscribers. He is also known for creating the web series Video Game High School.
The YouTube Next Lab and Audience Development Group, founded as Next New Networks, is a web television company based in New York City. Next New was launched in March 2007 by founders Fred Seibert & Emil Rensing, and co-founders Herb Scannell, Timothy Shey and Jed Simmons with $8 million in funding from investors including Spark Capital. The company was the home to online television networks Barely Political, Channel Frederator, Fast Lane Daily, Pulp Secret, Threadbanger, and Indy Mogul, among others. Next New Network's first creative hire was filmmaker Justin Johnson.
Grace Anne Helbig is an American comedian, actress, and YouTube personality. She is the creator and host of her own YouTube channel, as well as the podcasts Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig and This Might Get Weird.
Disney Digital Network is an American multi-channel network located in Culver City, California. It is the successor to Maker Studios, co-founded by Lisa Donovan, Danny Zappin, Scott Katz, Kassem G, Shay Carl, Rawn Erickson II, Ben Donovan, and Philip DeFranco in 2009. Maker Studios was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2014, and was absorbed into the newly formed Disney Digital Network in 2017.
Bachir Boumaaza, known by the online pseudonym Athene, is a Belgian internet personality and Twitch streamer. He is best known as a World of Warcraft content creator. He is the founder of Gaming for Good and has been involved in numerous charity gaming events to raise money for charities such as Save the Children.
Fullscreen is an American entertainment company which offers tools, services, and consultation to social media content creators and brands. It is owned by Otter Media, a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia.
Brave Bison is a Social Video Company. The company describes itself as the largest multi-platform video network in the world outside of North America, including its multi-channel network (MCN) on YouTube, consisting of over 2210 channels. In May 2018 it was named the world's third-biggest digital media publisher by Tubular Labs. Brave Bison has 2 offices, one in London and another in Singapore.
BroadbandTV Corporation is a Canadian media and technology company founded by CEO Shahrzad Rafati in 2005. The company is the second largest video property by unique viewers across the top 12 countries in the world, according to comScore, with head office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Adam Parris Montoya, better known by his online alias SeaNanners, is an American video game commentator on YouTube. He commentated on games that he played with other commentators including VanossGaming, Markiplier and Tom Cassell. He frequently collaborated with GassyMexican, TheGamingTerroriser, Chilled Chaos, Mr. Sark, Uncle Slam, Mangaminx/TheRPGMinx, Hutch, his girlfriend Cathy Diep, BryceGames, RitzPlays and Tejbz. On February 5, 2016, Montoya announced that he will voice Taskmaster in the mobile app game Marvel Avengers Academy.
Warner/Chappell Music Inc. et al. v. Fullscreen Inc. et al. (13-cv-05472) was a case against multi-channel network Fullscreen (company), filed by the National Music Publishers Association on behalf of Warner/Chappell Music and 15 other music publishers, which alleged that Fullscreen illegally reaped the profits of unlicensed cover videos on YouTube without paying any royalties to the rightful publishers and songwriters.
Diwan Videos is a Multi-Channel Network (MCN) and media production company based in Dubai and Cairo. On the regional level Diwan is the top viewed YouTube MCN in the Middle East and Africa(MEA)and the only regional network to rank among the top 100 MCNs globally. With more than half of its employees YouTube certified, Diwan qualified as one of the earliest YouTube Certified Partners in the MEA. Diwan specializes in digital content management services, including monetization, online channel optimization and protection of copyrights.
AwesomenessTV is an American media and entertainment company located in Los Angeles, California. Currently, it is owned and operated by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, a division of ViacomCBS.
Kin is a digital media and entertainment company.
YouTube has various copyright protection methods, such as copyright strikes, Content ID and Copyright Verification Program. However over the years these have been criticized for favoring corporations and unfair claims on videos.
Otter Media Holdings, LLC is an American digital media company owned by WarnerMedia Entertainment, a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia. It owns Crunchyroll, VRV, Fullscreen, Rooster Teeth and Ellation Studios, and holds ownership stakes in Hello Sunshine and Gunpowder & Sky.
Yoola is an entertainment company and a global YouTube multi-channel network (MCN) that works with YouTube creators, influencers, and brands to develop, distribute, manage, optimize, promote, and monetize new and existing content, products, and events.