Many Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs) are looking to expand their horizons beyond the YouTube platform. In fact, the term “MCN” is beginning to seem limiting to some, since “MCN” implies that YouTube is its content’s sole platform. Younger viewers dominate the MCN world, and they appear to have much more loyalty to the content creators, many of whom have become Internet celebrities, rather than the actual platform.
Multi-platform expansion is key for MCNs to capitalize on the audience’s loyalty to creators. An example is Omnia Media, which has progressed from a single-vertical, single-platform business into a multi-platform, diversified network over the last two years. Organic growth like this appears to be a less common approach, however, as most MCNs are being bought up by diversification-minded larger companies that have the resources to help them expand into multiple platforms. A more common example is the recently announced partnership between NBC Universo and Mitú to produce “Vive el Verano,” a group of 36 two-to-three minute clips aired cross-platform on NBC Universo and its video-on-demand, online, mobile, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
GHJ Partner Anant Patel attended the StreamCon NYC convention recently, saying: “It is interesting that the topics centered more on the next phases of MCN development, with major sessions on The Era of the MCN is Over, Long Live the Network, Multi-Platform Engagement 101 and How to Grow Beyond YouTube. It appears the MCN space is evolving quickly.”
Whether they see themselves as competitors or alternatives to YouTube, here’s an overview of some of the major platform players in this rapidly changing space:
An industry giant, Yahoo has the ability to make a major push into digital. After failing in an attempt to acquire DailyMotion, Yahoo acquired an Israeli company, RayV, to help build out its digital platform. So far, the company has focused on premium content creators and hasn’t yet built the community of smaller creators that drives YouTube’s success.
Based in Paris, DailyMotion has been in the video market since 2005 and has 120 million monthly visitors. It hasn’t built the community of original content producers that equals YouTube, however. To gain more traction, DailyMotion has started to make content partnerships with such companies as AOL and Maker Studios, capitalizing on their global reach.
Begun by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, Vessel is focused on content creators and is offering them more attractive financial deals as an enticement to join — a 70-percent cut of advertising revenue, in contrast to YouTube’s 45-percent cut. For $2.99 a month, Vessel users can watch advance episodes of popular web shows and videos that won’t be available anywhere else for 72 hours. Content creators can also keep 60 percent of subscription revenue, although subscription fees are being waived for periods of up to a year.
Amazon Video Shorts
Amazon Prime has already launched strong competition to SVOD players like Netflix and Hulu, and Amazon Studios is its direct challenge to YouTube. It offers branded content from major producers like Activision and offers its content creators a marketplace for all related products or content through the Amazon platform.
Vine is Twitter’s very popular six-second video application. Besides being a favorite Millennial toy, Vine has proven useful for product marketing, providing a first base for launching a campaign.
Facebook recently reinvigorated its video feature and started auto-playing clips in users’ news feeds. Videos uploaded directly to Facebook are now being watched a billion times per day, which has caught the eye of marketers. As the social network starts to aggressively court brands to place video ads, its efforts could cut into YouTube’s audience. Facebook also acquired Instagram, an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking site that enables its users to take pictures and videos and share them on a variety of social networking platforms.
The app for making disappearing photos and videos now has 100 million daily users who view more than three billion videos every day. YouTube is estimated to deliver about seven billion videos per day. A fairly new company, Snapchat has the potential to be an industry leader as a video platform.
Started as a music streaming app, Spotify has developed “Spotify Now,” which offers videos and podcasts.
Verizon’s recently launched mobile app is a social entertainment platform for watching and sharing primetime shows, live music, sports and videos. MCNs enter into contracts with Verizon for delivery of original content or shows from their libraries.
The business is so attractive that new platforms will most probably emerge on a regular basis, which means MCNs will have to quickly adapt to their audience’s need for digital media on many different platforms. YouTube has mastered the financial side of the business in a way that few others have, particularly in how it shares revenue with top creators on the platform. Even with more competition, YouTube continues to grow, reporting a 50-percent year-over-year growth in user base for the last few years.
About Amy Eybsen (Senior II, GHJ)
Amy has more than six years of public accounting experience and is a Senior Associate II within the GHJ Assurance and Advisory Practice. Amy provides accounting, auditing and transaction services to a wide variety of companies and organizations that span multiple industries within the greater Los Angeles area, including those in new media and the start-up arena.
Amy graduated from the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelor of Science in Finance and continued to the University of Southern California where she received a master’s in Accountancy. After graduation, she worked at Deloitte in their Technology, Media and Telecommunications Audit Practice before joining GHJ in 2015.