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Today I'll be answering a question I get all the time. Should I Join a Multi-Channel Network (like Machinima or Fullscreen) on Youtube?

The very simple answer to this question is, "It depends." But, that's a cop-out. What you really want to know is whether or not an MCN is right for you. If you are a smaller channel (less than 5000 subscribers) I'd contend that joining an MCN in most cases is really not going to help you when you compare their services to how much of your revenue they'll take.

To flesh this out, let's talk about most of the reasons people Join MCNs, a few reasons why you probably should not join one and then contrast the two scenarios

Why Most People Join MCNs

  1. Protection from Youtube's Content ID System
  2. Protection from Copyright Strikes
  3. Ad Revenue and Channel Promotion

Why You Probably Should Not Join

  1. Content ID Match exemption is reserved only for what Youtube calls Managed Partners
  2. You will split your ad revenue twice (Google gets a cut and so does your MCN)
  3. I've never heard anyone from a smaller channel say their MCN did a good job of promoting their channel

For most of you with a lower subscriber count (less than 5000) many MCNs will not bring you on as a Managed Partner. The few networks that will bring you on as a Managed Partner right off the bat force me to question their risk management strategy. Youtube now holds MCNs accountable for their partners committing copyright infringement to the tune of potentially shutting their entire network down. If an MCN is willing to take everyone they meet on as a Managed Partner, I wonder if they really plan to be around for the long haul or if they are in this for quick money from the aggregate performance of their partner-base. Regardless, why share revenue twice with a company who's probably not adding value to your brand that's comparable to the revenue they are taking?

My MCN, Zoomin.TV does an acceptable job of paying me on time and they have made attempts to promote my channel. I would gladly say they have honored their contract with me without fail or blemish. However, once my contract ends next year, I'm considering going back to a standard Youtube partnership. Why? Because, while they have certainly done a fair job of upholding their side of our contract, I don't perceive the value of their service to be worth what I pay them in shared ad revenue. I joined primarily to avoid Content ID Matches so I could deliver the best content to my community without worry of being shut down. After two years in the game, I know my good standing with Youtube is more related to me adhering to Youtube policy than it is related to anything my MCN is currently doing for me as an Affiliate (the alternative to being a Managed Partner).

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