YouTube Multichannel Networks Worth Billions

Some multichannel networks on YouTube are worth billions and growing. London-based analyst firm Ampere Analysis estimates the channel's businesses in aggregate are worth more than $20 billion. Dreamworks and Disney have seen their individual investments in MCNs rise in value by more than 240% in the past 18 months, according to Ampere.

On the heels of VidCon, which opens in Anaheim, Calif., later this month, Ampere took a look at the market's impact. The analyst firm specializes in pay and multiscreen TV and next-generation content distribution.

Aside from Dreamworks and Disney, major companies like RTL Group, Warner Music, Discovery and others have their own YouTube channels that are part of the MCN group. During the past three years, the biggest of these have been snapped up for sums ranging from $200 million to nearly $1 billion, mainly by the larger media groups, according to Ampere. One example is Discovery Communications’ purchase of Revision3 for $30 million. The analyst firm said "this land grab is all but over, leaving some major players with the option of acquiring and consolidating smaller MCNs or building their own."



More than 75% of the MCNs acquired in the last three years were bought by traditional media groups. The analysis shows the average MCN is worth 10 cents per monthly view. On this basis, an MCN with 1 billion monthly views would be worth $100 million. There are 22 MCNs now worth at least this much, per the analysis.

The dollars are attracting top talent like Yahoo News reporter Katie Couric to VidCon. She will interview Ze Frank of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures in a fireside chat. 

Not only the dollars, but the views attract major companies. Ampere's analysis shows the combined value of the top 22 MCNs is $6.5 billion. Collectively the top 100 MCNs receive 100 billion views per month, making them worth nearly $10 billion. Some 42% of all YouTube's video views in Q1 2015 were on the top 100 MCNs. Ampere estimates there are 22 MCNs worldwide that would command a purchase price of at least $100 million.

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