Save time and money when hiring digital celebrities by working directly with an Agent vs. a Multi-Channel Network.
Brand Marketers are bringing more and more branded content to YouTube channels, but it isn’t as easy as picking up the phone and calling a YouTube star. There are layers of representation that need to be navigated to avoid missing out on added value, or worse, overpaying.
There are usually three routes to choose from when contacting digital celebrities. Brands can hire a celebrity agency to represent them, contact the agent directly, or work through a Multi Channel Network (MCN). An MCN is a company that manages thousands of YouTube channels and their stars. They help syndicate, monetize, and manage content from these channels.
To learn more about MCNs, click here
Each avenue has its pros and cons, but the first step before contacting anyone, is understanding the restrictions of the campaign. What time frame is the brand working with? What are the budgetary limitations? What are the specific goals for the campaign (conversions, impressions, awareness, etc.)? This list will determine which avenue will be most effective.
This post will focus on the benefits of utilizing the talent agent route.
Megan Brown and Lauren Nogy, agents from the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) shared some insights on negotiating endorsements through a digital talent agent.
Personal Relationship with the Celebrity
Personal relationships the agents share with their clients can add tremendous value. “We know things [the digital celebrity] will do, things they won’t do right out of the gate and we can give brands the accurate, quick information they need.” explained Lauren Nogy.
This means less back and forth when negotiating because the agent knows what kind of offers the digital celebrity would accept, what companies they would be open to working with, and the style of branded content that organically fits within their channel.
Megan Brown elaborated,
“We are developing a personal relationship with our clients in order to have a good understanding of where they want to take their brand, and how they want to grow in their original platform.”
MCNs, on the other hand, have thousands of YouTube channels to manage. Aside from their top performers, it is difficult for an MCN to know each and every influencer on a personal level.
The agent’s ability to get a hold of their client when others cannot is a considerable advantage.
“If [the talent] is traveling, if they’re at an event, if they are shooting that day, and they aren’t paying close attention to their phone or email we’re able to get in touch with them. Due to our close relationship with the talent, we are also able to give initial feedback that normally an MCN would have to get directly from the talent.” said Brown.
If there is an option between going through the MCN or the Agent, and time is a factor, the agent may be the best way to go.
Dealing strictly through an agent will normally cost the brand 10% of the talent’s total fee (standard agent commission percentage). This price will vary, but it is significantly lower than an MCN.
Prices of 30% are common practice for larger MCNs, however this steeper fee can be worth it. MCNs add value that an agent cannot; they can guarantee specific performance goals, such as impressions and number of views.
MCNs offer other benefits which I will cover in another post.