Multi-Channel Networks 101 – Multi Channel Network
As online video flourishes as a sector of the startup community in Los Angeles, this has given rise to new vocabulary that is often used, but little understood by a wider audience.
“Multi-Channel Networks” (or MCNs) have established themselves in various parts of L.A.
This definition from YouTube on multi-channel networks provides helpful information. It states that:
“Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs) are entities that affiliate with multiple YouTube channels, often to offer assistance in areas such as product, programming, funding, cross-promotion, partner management, digital rights management, monetization/sales, and/or audience development. These companies are not affiliated with or endorsed by YouTube orGoogle GOOG +0.11%.”
In other words, MCNs are independent companies that are not owned by YouTube, but rather are built on top of the YouTube platform, using its video capabilities.
In Los Angeles alone, the following are some startups in the multi-channel network category: Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Big Frame, DanceOn, Machinima, Tastemade,AwesomenessTV (which sold to DreamWorks Animation DWA +0.27% earlier this year), and likely more being created in the near future. (Though we are starting to see MCNs developed within certain niche categories, especially going after audiences that have potential for global reach, but sometimes are currently underserved).
As these properties see early traction, huge numbers, and success, the question turns to how the networks will further capitalize on the content and what they do with the talent they invite under their banners. (A question also presents itself as to how YouTube might eventually capitalize on the MCNs, given that they provide the canvas).
Resources For Individual Video-Creators
Separately, in the video category, for individual video-makers — not affiliated with an MCN, this explanation of the YouTube Partner Program is helpful, as well as this list of resources for creators.
In addition, because individual video-makers often need production facilities, YouTube Space LA was designed as a state-of-the-art facility to help produce original digital video content (for those video-makers that are part of YouTube’s Partner Program). Similar spaces also exist in London and Tokyo.
In short, building a business (or an audience) in the video category — especially in Los Angeles — has become incredibly popular. But where the sector is headed is not yet known. Millions of people are using YouTube on a daily basis. It’s the favored search tool of the millennial generation (and those younger). Many would argue that video is now just part of the way we use the Internet or part of our relationship with media.
What is also poignant is that in L.A. everyone is searching for new forms of content, as mobile devices become more pervasive and central to our lives. The opportunities for second-screen experiences (i.e. content delivered to you on your phone, while you watch T.V., for instance), for mobile entertainment, and for new disruptions in short-form content are many.