Before you Join a YouTube MCN — Read this

If you are reading this, chances are, you are already doing well on YouTube and have a fairly active audience. So few months back, I had a first-hand experience with an Indian YouTube MCN and here few things I wish I knew before joining the network.

YouTube mcn feature image

What exactly is MCN?

YouTube is the second largest search engine with more than 300 hours of video uploaded every minute. So seeing this potential a new form of business emerged called – multi-channel networks short MCN.

Think of it as a big media house that owns multiple YouTube channels. They partner with other independent YouTubers and help them to grow their channel. And in return, take a pre-negotiated cut from their earning.

This video explains the working and pros/cons of MCN in detail.

Most YouTubers are too naive to understand the legal contract offered by the networks and later ended by unhappy. I made the same mistake few months. There were many things, I wish I knew before joining a network.

So here are few pointers on when and when not to join a network:

#1 Custom thumbnails:   Say NO. You can do that on your own. There are plenty of tutorials on how to use Photoshop. This is not worth sharing your money. 

#2 More eyeballs on your videos: Say NO. MCN don’t have access to YouTube search algorithm and partnering with them won’t give any big boost to your channels. All they can do is share your videos inside their own community and social network. Still not worth enough.

#3 Higher CPM: Now this is a bit tricky. If they promise higher CPM always ask them how much. Get a figure. And then compare it with your original one. If that’s the same or little more than say NO. If you are regularly making content, you CPM will obviously surpass their offer. Similarly also avoid flat CPM.

See: How much money can you make from YouTube

#4 Collaboration: One can easily collab with other YouTubers by leaving a comment on their video or asking them directly on their fan page. You don’t need a network for that. 

#5 Stock images and music: Again NO. There are tons of free musics and HQ images that you can use for commercial projects. Few years back, this would be a dealbreaker but not now.

#6 Copyright protection: MCN takes responsibility for any copyright violation caused by their members. So if your channel revolves around copyright issues (like gaming channel or movie reviews where you use popular songs or movie clips) then MCN are helpful.

Your videos will be monetizing even without YouTube reviewing it. However discuss this issue clearly, before you sign the contract.

#7 Products review/ Sponsor Ads: This is the biggest and the only reason to become a part of MCN.  Most networks are partners with brands and can help you to get custom ads for your video. If you own tech channel then they might get gadgets to review.

Some ‘DO’s and ‘DON’T’s 

DO’s

  • Partners only with the top networks. They pay in time and keep their end of their bargain as they a reputation to maintain
  • Take everything in writing, renegotiate the contract if you want
  • Talk to the fellow YouTubers who are under the network. Most of them will be happy to answer your queries

DON’T’s

  • Sign more than one year contract. Things changes pretty fast on the internet. Most MCN offer 3 months trial, make use of it

Conclusion

So overall in MCN are good thing. Most people benefit from them. But this doesn’t always work that way. There are many horror stories on YouTube on how they were screwed by their MCN. I didn’t have a good time either. So before you sign the contract read it thoroughly and negotiate properly.

About Mrinal Saha

Mrinal is a tech geek who spends half of his day reading and writing about tech. While the nights are spent on shooting or editing YouTube videos. Feel free to geek out with him on-