Multichannel networks (MCNs) are trying to escape the term that has defined them since their arrival, redefining their businesses as many-to-many video, multiplatform creator networks, or global youth media companies.
Some have even been so bold to call themselves a “studio.” Simply said, in today’s digital-first world, it only serves to remind advertisers of the multichannel networks’ humble beginnings involving bedroom video bloggers and amateur filmmakers.
Those days are long past, and in a business that comes down to “eyeballs,” MCNs have emerged as an incredibly important conduit for entertainment brands to reach audiences they simply cannot find anywhere else.
Viewers of MCNs are comprised almost entirely of pre-teens and young adults, who were the first to move en masse away from traditional television consumption. Marketers of entertainment content for millennials and Generation Z audiences know they live their lives engaging with longer-tail content that only many-to-many programming players, such as Machinima, Maker Studios, AwesomenessTV, Collective Digital Studio, or Fullscreen, can truly deliver.
However, there is more to the gambit. MCNs provide entertainment marketers far more than large millennial and Generation Z audiences. They offer the ability to drop down into more niche-relevant and timely targeting. Their micro channels and creators afford entertainment marketers an unprecedented ability to target, reach and deliver dynamic advertising across a narrowly defined group, often in a more intimate, authentic and personal way.
MCNs offer a place for savvy entertainment advertisers to connect the dots on how their offering aligns with a highly diverse array of audience interests, affording an opportunity for more native interactions with key influencers.
In addition to reach and targeting, MCNs’ content consumption runs at a much higher volume than other content channels, and is heavily driven by mobile. Some of the more popular personalities engage with their audiences at an incredible frequency and volume – daily to multiple times a week, wherever they are.
This means entertainment marketers can quickly deliver time-sensitive advertising in a way that television simply cannot, when and where it makes the most sense for it to be consumed.
Larger MCNs are desperate to redefine their brands, because the MCN tag often fails to neither properly convey the emerging level of sophistication in their business models, nor capture the sheer reach they are able to achieve across multiple platforms.
For instance, Maker Studios, has made the leap to a more robust foundation. The studio markets itself as the No. 1producer and distributor of online content reaching millennials in the U.S., said to receive 11 billion views every month from over 650 million subscribers, courtesy of 55,000 independent creator partners from more than 100 countries.
Others are sure to follow suit, although time is not on their side. Marketers may find difficulty in relating to a generation that flock in their droves to footage of others playing video games, but the fact remains that this demographic is no longer emerging, it is established. For confirmation you only have to look at some of the staggering viewing figures attributed to this type of content for confirmation.
Video consumption is already fragmenting beyond all recognition. Smart devices allow content to be watched in a plethora of environments and scenarios. Consumer habits are barely recognizable to the television-first attitude of 10 years ago, and the more recent personal video recorder (PVR) generation from five years gone has all but been overtaken by over-the-top services.
MCNs form a significant part of today’s marketing mega mix. Entertainment marketers beware, discount this significant subset of consumers at your peril.