Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
Parallel to the OTT and multiscreen revolution, user-generated content evolved into professional-standard UGC and YouTube stars and channels were born, appealing to millennials. The talent made some money, then hooked up with people who could make them more thanks to experience in business generally and media sales and distribution in particular. The result was MCNs (Multichannel Networks) who slowly added more channels and stars to their stables, achieving economies of scale and an ever-growing viewer and fan base. Now, with proven audiences and revenues, they have become a ready-made solution for traditional media companies looking for greater reach into the youth market, whether as a partner or an acquisition. Some broadcaster groups are building their own MCNs as well.
Through most of this evolution there has been one dominant route to market: YouTube. YouTube lowered the barriers to entry for content creators and provides the advertisers – albeit taking a sizeable share of the video ad revenues. YouTube is still king of the viewing sub-culture that has emerged over the last decade, with hundreds of niche interest channels watched by millions of teenagers and young adults, but it appears that this segment of the media industry is getting too big to be contained within umbrella ‘platforms’ anymore and the time has come for the MCNs to effectively go ‘direct-to-consumer’ with multiscreen video streaming platforms and portals of their own. It is almost as if YouTube, Dailymotion and their like are about to face their own ‘OTT moment’ with the emergence of ‘MCN-direct’.
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