Multi-Channel Networks can provide guaranteed digital ROI marketers seek.
A multi-channel network is a company that manages thousands of YouTube channels and their stars. They help syndicate, monetize, and manage content from these channels. Millenials are the primary demographic that watches YouTube videos, and brands desperately want to reach them.
To get branded content onto these celebrities’ YouTube channels, brand marketers can choose to work through a celebrity agency, a talent agent, or the Multi-Channel Network the celebrity is signed to. Each route has its pros and cons, but this post will cover the advantages an MCN has to offer.
I recently spoke with Max Polisar, Big Frame’s VP of Sales, about the value MCNs can offer brands.(According to Max, MCN will most likely become a legacy term, as these companies help their digital celebs branch off into other online video mediums, cable television, and more. For the sake of brevity, I will continue to refer to them as MCNs)
Multi-channel networks can essentially purchase the amount of eyes the brand needs.
Like the name multi-channel implies, MCNs have thousands of YouTube channels (Maker Studios alone has over 55,000). These channels generate billions of monthly views, and contain a surplus of lucrative advertising space. MCNs leverage this ability by promoting branded content across their extensive catalog of videos.
This takes the pressure off of brands, which normally have to find all of the relevant channels to advertise on by themselves. Not only does the MCN help secure talent for the brand, but they also take care of marketing the content as well.
It isn’t just the advertising inventory that gets results; the nature of the content also plays a huge role.
“Your not one of four ads on TV, your not a pre-roll that someone can skip, views are guaranteed because [they’re] part of the content.” Max
This consistent, dedicated traffic and relevant advertising space allows the brand to ask for specific performance goals, such as desired number of impressions, views, click through rates, etc.
MCNs’ large portfolio of celebrities also comes in handy when a brand doesn’t have a specific star in mind.
Every channel under an MCN is contractually obligated to produce a certain amount of branded content per year. This means the MCN can call upon a combination of relevant digital celebrities to make content for the brand.
Because all of the celebrities are under the same MCN, the brand doesn’t have to waste time and money drawing up separate contracts and reaching out to different agencies to secure multiple stars.
Although MCNs provide a convenient place to acquire multiple influencers, Max believes it is more important to get the right ones.
“It’s important to align the right brand with the right creator. It’s not just a media buy, they are a creative director on your behalf, they are an influencer… the biggest person may not be the best person for you, they may get you the most impressions but they may not give you the most engagement”
An MCN can step in and offer production materials and assistance in the event of a branded video opportunity.
These resources can include cameras, lighting equipment, microphones, editing software, etc. The MCNs also have staff that can assist their channels with filming and editing if the video requires it (in fact, some MCNs function as micro-studios for popular channels).
Even in the intimate setting of a YouTube stars bedroom, the brand can rest assured production quality will be top notch.
Prices vary for desired services and number of celebrities, but the cost of working with an MCN is generally 30% of the talents total fee. This is three times the cost of a traditional talent agent, but the added value an MCN can offer makes up for this difference.
While prices for digital influencers is increasing across the board, Max believes this is because the value of digital talent is rapidly approaching that of traditional celebrities,
“They are approaching the Q-scores and [other metrics] that traditional celebrities are seeing. As a whole the bottom line is growing as their influence is growing. Back in the day it used to be just someone like Oprah who wielded that power, but today there are 100 Oprahs.”