Multi Channel Networks are aggregators and producers of online video content for platforms like YouTube. Shari Redstone, Jimmy Maymann and Oded Vardi talk about the recent wave of mainstream media purchases of MCN's.
Shari Redstone finds that the more things change, the more they stay the same. A lot of mainstream media companies want to find new ways of connecting to their consumers. Multichannel networks provide them with more ways to make these connections. They offer a pool of talent that may allow for more experimentation and also provide other ways to distribute some of their existing content.
Traditional companies also have something to offer to the multi channel networks, like expertise in monetising content.
Jimmy Maymann says that technology has democratised media. It’s very interesting to see how MCN’s have been able to gather a lot of online talent. Now more traditional talent is moving into these channels. MCN’s have been able to reach different audiences. Maker studios for example has Pewdiepie, a channel with content that is not very sophisticated but is reaching the millenials, something traditional media has not been able to do.
MCN’s are an opportunity for AOL. With Disney now moving into this field, it will create consolidation, and AOL will have those thoughts as well. AOL just launched 15 new regional series. These are high quality expensive productions. Now that there is scale in online video there is also a better chance to monetise the online content.
Shari Redstone believes that the millennial generation just views content as content. The lines are going to blur and these things create opportunity for everybody. MCN’s and traditional media need each other. In the end it will be a big win for the viewer.
Jimmy Maymann brings up Vice, which started as an online creator, moving in to providing shows for HBO. More and more internet strategies are being applied to traditional media. We can start seeing the internet as a funnel to get new users and some converting to subscribers.
People are going to be focused on the question of who are the stars of online talent. Jimmy Maymann says that talent is an issue but HuffPo is trying to get the audience to take part in the conversation. You can connect and let them take part and use that to enhance the discussion and conversation. It’s not just about talent, it is also about community and platform.
The next step is monetisation. Right now YouTube is taking a big cut of the MCN’s income. Although some people find that unfair Oded reminds everyone else that it is very difficult to set up a platform and hardware base like that for less than 45%. You are going to start seeing windowing. Things that start growing an audience online that will be able to move on to other places. But it is important that there will be competition amongst platforms in order to make monetisation better.
JImmy Maymann reminds that the internet is global. That is easy to forget when you are in the U.S. but it is only 4% of the internet market. After beginning an internationalisation initiative HuffPo now has 50% of their users from other countries.
The great thing about making your business a global one is you can find those pockets of innovation and bring them back.
Looking beyond your borders is always an opportunity for growth. Right now technology allows you to have a more global approach which lets you look at your business in a much better, more effective way.