This question comes from Aire English School who are doing some fantastic work in the educational space on YouTube.
I’ve been approached by YouTube Network X to become an affiliate channel. I’ve always been sceptical of these, but just wondered what you thought of this. How does it work?
Multi Channel Networks (or MCNs) are a growing reality of the YouTube profession so I’m glad this was asked.
The How is fairly simple.
You sign a contract (and be under no illusion it is a contract you are signing, even if you’re only clicking a button) and your channel is added to the network’s Content Management System, or CMS.
In exchange for a cut of your ad-revenue the network offers a range of benefits for a specified length of time. These vary from network to network so again check the terms before you sign.
Like any industry there are companies that are transparent and above board and then there are companies that may not have your best interest at heart.
It’s not my place to say which companies fit into which category, mainly because I’ve never worked for or belonged to an MCN, but also because what may be right for one YouTube Creator may not be right for the next.
YouTube have put together a great resource for making the decision whether or not to join an MCN so I always default to that but after listening to stories in the YouTube community, expanding on YouTube’s recommendations and my own dose of common sense I’ve put together the following:
5 questions to ask yourself before joining a Multi Channel Network
- What are the benefits?
What exactly are they offering you? Make a list of all of their promises and consider if you can achieve success without them, even if it means a longer road to the top.
- Will you make more money?
Do you know your RPM or the amount of money you make per 1000 views on your videos?
You can work that out by doing the following:
Visit Creator Studio > Analytics > Views and change the filter so that you get your views for the last 365 days:
You can get that figure from your adsense account or by visiting Creator Studio > Analytics > Estimated Earnings.
The reason you want to measure over a 12 month period is that there are peaks and troughs for advertising payouts as it is a very seasonal business.
You now have your estimated revenue per single view so simply times that by 1000 to get your revenue per thousand views.
Is the MCN offering better than the number you calculated? Don’t forget to take out their revenue cut from any calculation.
- Do they have the personal touch?
When you were approached by the network was it personal or just a copy and pasted message?
If the latter this is quite unprofessional and likely they are sending this to many people just to achieve a bigger scale.
This is not necessarily an indicator of a bad network but a personal approach is always a good sign that they have a genuine interest in you and your channel and are more likely to push for your success.
- Have you read the fine print?
What do the terms and conditions say? Don’t sign or click on anything before a thorough evaluation.
Read carefully and seek legal advice if necessary, you could be signing up to a long term contract and you may be signing away more than you think.
- Have you done your due diligence?
This is a simple step that can save you a lot of trouble further down the line.
Here are my top tips:
- Check out the company’s website – does it look professional and credible?
- Are they YouTube Certified?
- Who else belongs to the network? Any big names? Anyone you can approach to see how the network has been for them?
- Do a Google search on their name. Are there many people complaining about bad experiences?
- Check out YouTube’s guidelines for MCNs. Are they promising you things that shouldn’t be? If so this should be a red flag.
No one, including me, can make this decision for you. It’s your channel and your livelihood.
Many of the biggest YouTube channels in the world (including the biggest in PewDiePie) belong to MCNs and have thrived. On the flipside however, there are forums filled with horror stories of people feeling mistreated by networks.
Read the fine print, read it again and if you’re still unsure seek legal advice, as it’s a bigger decision than you may first think, especially if you plan on turning your channel into a long-term business.
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