For this community Q&A, we wanted to provide our thoughts on a couple of important questions we gathered on YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs). Let’s begin!
What is a YouTube Network?
In the YouTube world, most multi-channel networks are pretty much networks made of multiple channels, and are dedicated to offering assistance/tools to YouTube creators in a variety of channel management areas for a percentage of revenue generated from the creators’ partnered channels.
YouTube networks are focused on providing services to help manage, grow and monetize your channel, in return for a split of your earnings. It’s meant to be a win-win partnership for both sides.
Do I have to join a YouTube Network?
While it may seem like a lot of creators have a YouTube network partnership, you don’t actually have to partner with one. Many successful and top YouTubers are independent, meaning they’re not associated with a network. There’s also talent management agencies for YouTube creators, which operate differently than networks. It comes down to your goals as a creator, and deciding if a YouTube network partnership can be of value to you in accomplishing them.
Do you think I should join a YouTube Network?
This is a decision that you have to make as a creator, with the future of your channel and its goals being kept in mind. Start by figuring out what you want to accomplish with your YouTube channel in the short and long term. Then, go over the services and assistance offered by the network to see if they can be of value to your YouTube channel, and the goals you have.
If you’re interested in what a YouTube network partnership has to offer, it’s essential to figure out what percentage or amount they’ll keep from the earnings your channel generates. This is a huge factor when deciding if it’s worth partnering with a YouTube network. Take a look at the proposed revenue split being offered, and then do some calculations/comparisons to see if the services being offered are actually worth the cost.
Also, look at the required contract term, as many YouTube networks may require you to partner for a specific length of time. Generally, it’s best to avoid long term contract lengths. Most importantly, go over their legal contract(s) with a professional. There’s a lot of factors involved with rights, contract termination, and other conditions that you should be fully aware of.
We cannot emphasis enough how critical it is to read the fine print when making a legal decision like officially joining a YouTube network.
I’ve heard bad things about YouTube MCNs. Are they a scam?
YouTube Networks are not in business to scam their partners. They really do want their partnered channels to grow and earn more money. The more their partners earn, the more revenue for the network. The goal is a win-win situation for the creator and the network. So, how come people have had bad experiences? Here’s two reasons for possibly why.
For starters, and to build on a previous point, many YouTubers don’t thoroughly go over the legal contract when joining a YouTube network. There will be legal clauses and conditions to protect the network, which may or may not work for you as a creator. This is why it’s really important to have a legal expert explain what the contract means, and how it affects your YouTube channel moving forward.
Another reason why creators may be unsatisfied with their multi-channel network is because of their expectations. Joining a YouTube network doesn’t mean that you will get easy or guaranteed results. Even though they’ll provide you with services, opportunities, and assistance, you still have to put in consistent, hard work to build your channel’s brand. If you’re interested in a specific network, don’t expect them to be a guaranteed way to grow your channel, but as a way to make the process easier.
That being said, at times YouTube networks may not live up to their promises. In that case, online reviews are a great way to avoid making a bad decision. We highly recommend you look into the track record and experience(s) of other partners for the network you’re considering.
Look at what services the network is offering. Do they fit with your short and long term goals? Will you actually be making use of them? Are they beneficial to your channel, and how so?
What advice would you give to YouTubers considering a MCN?
Do your research! The first thing to consider is the value of the network. What value are they bringing to you as a creator. Is it access to thousands of free soundtracks? Collaboration opportunities? You should have a good “reason” to join a YouTube network. Don’t do it just because everyone else may seem like they’re partnered with one.
Ask questions. Write down a list of questions you have about joining the network, their services, legal conditions, and other important information you’d like to get input on. Then reach out to them through their contact form, or email them. There’s no reason for them not to help answer any questions you may have. You should also consider reaching out and asking other creators about their past or present experience with the network.
Here’s a few of the many questions that you should research to have an answer for:
- Are they a legit YouTube network? Watch out for spam emails encouraging you to join networks.
- What’s their track record? What are people saying about them online?
- What YouTube channels are a part of their network?
- Is the network relevant to your YouTube channel and content?
- What services are they offering, and how are they beneficial to you?
- How long is their required contract length? What are the conditions regarding the termination of the contract (leaving the network)?
- Who owns the rights to your content if you join their network, and if you leave?
- How will they try to help grow your YouTube channel?
- What is their partner support like? Communication with your network should never be an issue.
- How much revenue will they take from your YouTube channel’s earnings?
- How often will you receive your earned revenue? What is the minimum payment threshold?
- Can they offer you a trial period?
- Is the network open to negotiating any contract terms? If so, always make sure they are written and included in the contract!
And much more…
The point here is that you’ve put in a ton of effort to build your YouTube channel, so the last thing you want to do is make the wrong decision. You should be 100% certain that you want to partner with whichever network you like.
Quick note: Don’t take this as professional advice as we’re not legal experts. There’s a lot more to consider than what we’ve mentioned when it comes to joining a YouTube network, and getting professional/legal assistance is honestly the best thing you can do when considering a partnership.
What You Need to Know About YouTube Network Partnerships
To summarize some of the points mentioned above:
When you’re deciding if it’s worth joining, there’s obviously a ton of factors to consider, as mentioned above. That being said, it’s just as important to have an honest understanding of how a YouTube network partnership will actually affect your channel.
What we’re referring to is the belief that by joining a network your channel will start growing immediately, and pretty much be guaranteed for success. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. We’re not saying that YouTube networks don’t work, because many creators have gone on to become full-time creators because of them. What we want to highlight is the expectation and understanding you need to have when it comes to these networks.
Let’s place an emphasis on the word “help“, because there’s two things that need to be understood, in relation to that very word. First, realize that networks are there to help you get results, not guarantee them. Secondly, ask yourself, exactly how the network can help you and your YouTube channel.
Why are these things important to realize and understand? Mostly because we want you to take a closer look at the specific services each network is offering, and then decide on how they can actually benefit your channel and your content, moving forward.
Don’t just join a YouTube network partnership because you’ve seen larger creators partnered with them and expect the same to instantly happen for you. There is no magic growth button. You still have to put in the hard work and effort, but the right network should help make the road to achieving your goals more easier with their services and resources. That’s why it’s crucial to take a good look at what’s specifically being offered by them to provide their partners with results.
We’re not here to tell you if it’s really worth joining a YouTube network or not, because only YOU can decide that. Every YouTuber will have their own unique fit based on their goals, channel niche, content style, and other factors. That being said, we believe a lot more bad experiences with YouTube networks can be prevented by understanding that networks are there to help, not guarantee your path to success.
That concludes this community Q&A. We hope you found it helpful! If you’ve got more questions about this topic area, feel free to connect with us on our official Twitter page at Twitter.com/VlogNationInc
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