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How YouTube Network works | 5 Ways to Monetize Videos

A YouTube Network (also referred to as a “multi-channel network” or “MCN”) is an independent business entity that works with creators to grow, monetize, program, and/or manage their YouTube channel. MCNs were originally designed to offer these services to creators in exchange for payment (typically as a revenue-sharing model).

While cultivating a roster of high-performing channels, as well as creating offerings for tens of thousands of emerging channels. However, as MCNs became popular in the early-2010s, some YouTubers began speaking out against the networks for a variety of reasons.

How YouTube Network works

The more YouTubers MCNs amassed, the more valuable their companies became. Larger networks, like Maker StudiosStyleHaulAwesomenessTV, and Machinima, ended up selling to entertainment entities such as Disney and Warner Bros.

Around this time, some networks also started to shift their focus and investment toward original content. Since then, several of these top YouTube networks have been plagued by layoffspared down their creator partnerships, and looked to reposition themselves.

How does YouTube Network work?

Each of the YouTube Account Monetization features has its own set of eligibility requirements. On top of subscribers and views count requirements. With this in mind, it is highly recommended that you Join a YouTube Monetization Network Program. That’s if you want to make more out your YouTube network channel.

The YouTube Monetization Multi-Channel Networks (“MCNs” or “networks”) are third-party service providers. They affiliate with multiple YouTube channels to offer various key services and solutions. Like audience development, content programming, creator collaborations, digital rights management, monetization, and/or content sales.

YouTube Help – Multi-Channel Network (MCN) overview for YouTube Creators

I could simply say, joining an MCN is an important choice for any YouTube creator. But, before you join, make sure you understand the basics. Like what services and/or results in the MCN will deliver in exchange for your payment. You should also make sure you understand when your payments will be distributed.

Additionally, through MCN, understand what protections you have. Such as if your MCN fails to pay you on time. Or even if it fails to pay you what you are owed. Some creators may choose to partner with an MCN for success. But, you don’t need to join it to be successful on YouTube.

Types of MCN channels under YouTube network:
  • Affiliate Channels are managed at scale by their MCN and reside in an Affiliate Content Owner.
  • Owned & Operated (O&O) channels are owned and operated by the MCN.

As for O&O mentioned above, it means the MCN has obtained the rights to the channel’s YouTube content.

And therefore, it assumes full liability for the content on YouTube and manages the O&O channels on a day to day basis. Differentiating between these two types of channels allows YouTube to apply our policies and channel features with clarity and fairness.

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It’s important to realize, MCNs and other third-party service providers are not directly endorsed by YouTube or Google. But, you can view a list of YouTube Certified service providers in the Creator Services Directory.

As a matter of fact, MCN contracts are legally binding, so it’s important to make an informed decision. You may wish to even consult your own legal counsel. And therefore, before you join an MCN, read through your contract.

Joining an MCN has no impact on your revenue share with YouTube, which is outlined in its Terms of Service. MCNs typically take a percentage of revenue from the creator’s portion before paying them. In that case, make sure you at least understand these key points.

Why is YouTube Network important?

Monetization can be a tricky game, but just remember to keep up that hustle! You’re in it for the long haul, so make content that you are truly passionate about. That’s a key takeaway I learned from the State of YouTube 2019 report. YouTube creators are some of the busiest people out there, so set yourself up for success by using high-quality stock footage and After Effects templates.

Don’t skimp on the audio, either—viewers appreciate sound effects and music that match the tone of the video (and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg if you go with stock). In video production, your time is just as valuable as your money, so save on both with stock media from Storyblocks.

Why is YouTube Network important?

YouTube Channel Monetization is only one of the best ways to make money on YouTube network channels. There are actually several others — but enabling YouTube monetization is a great, fairly easy entry point. Keeping in mind, the subscriber and watch time threshold for YouTube ads is pretty low. So, it allows your channel to pick up steam when it’s still in its infancy.

But, as you continue to gain more followers and increase watch times, however, you should consider additional monetization options—especially if you have a very loyal and engaged audience. I will explain more on that later on.

What are the Benefits of a YouTube Network?

When you join an MCN, all your revenue will flow through your MCN’s AdSense account. And also your MCN will have access to your YouTube Analytics revenue data. So, make sure you know how to get help as a YouTube Creator and use YouTube’s support options, which are available to you whether you’re in an MCN or not.

Every YouTube Creator is eligible for the YouTube for Creators Program, which provides resources like workshops, meetups, channel consultations, production access to the YouTube Spaces, and more — all free of charge and based on your channel’s specific needs.

Some MCNs offer additional revenue opportunities. Such as brand sponsorships or dedicated sales teams, that may contribute to higher overall earnings for your channel. If a network offers you these services, you may wish to make sure they are specified in your contract. More benefits are;

1. An Ultimate Increase in Brand Access and Support

Brand Access – Networks have relationships with various businesses looking to sponsor video content on YouTube. For creators on an MCN roster, this can mean more visibility and brand partnership opportunities than might be achieved as an independent channel.

Other companies, such as influencer marketing agencies and influencer marketing platforms can also help connect YouTubers to brands looking to sponsor content.

YouTube Support – While YouTube does not “endorse” the MCNs on their platform, they do offer a list of certified providers. YouTube’s pre-existing relationship with these individuals and businesses means that they can sometimes more quickly resolve content issues. Some MCNs also offer protection from misappropriated copyright strikes against creators.

2. Quality Management Facilities and Key Partnerships

Management – YouTube networks can offer creators assistance with growing, managing, programming, and monetizing their channels.

Facilities – Some of the larger networks have their own (or access to) production spaces that YouTubers can use for shooting and editing content.

Partnerships – In an effort to transmigrate audiences from one of their channels to another, MCNs create opportunities for collaboration between different in-network talent. For a small YouTuber working with a larger influencer on the platform, this can be hugely beneficial.

3. You Get a Wide Audience Outreach and Big Growth

YouTube has over 1 billion users and streams more than 1 billion hours of video per day. YouTube’s success is due largely in part to its extensive list of creators. Known as YouTubers, these creators range from amateur vloggers to professional online stars who are some of the most influential voices on the internet.

In-kind, YouTube has paid out over $2 billion to its creators since 2007. And for video creators interested in growing their channel and possibly securing brand deals, joining a YouTube multi-channel network is one of several different ways to make money as a YouTuber.

However, the decision of whether or not to partner with a network isn’t always as straightforward as it may appear.

How do I Monetize my YouTube videos?

You’ve mastered the YouTube algorithm. Your channel’s SEO is in tip-top shape. You’ve even decoded YouTube’s analytics. Now comes the moment you’ve been waiting for—it’s time to make some money doing what you love. YouTube’s monetization policy changes from time to time and that can seem scary.

First, to qualify for monetization, your channel has to have at least 4,000 hours of watch time within the last year and at least 1,000 subscribers. This policy went into effect at the beginning of 2018 and is another way for YouTube to prioritize watch time (as opposed to view count, which was the platform’s previous focus).

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“Watch time” is the total number of hours users have spent watching your channel’s videos. Since YouTube ultimately wants to keep users on the platform for as long as possible, watch time has become more and more valuable to creators. Luckily, we have a guide to help you start and grow your YouTube channel.

Based on conversations in the r/youtubers and r/youtube subreddits, the 1,000 subscribers/4,000 hours of watch time benchmarks are actually pretty manageable! Plus, once you’ve implemented an effective SEO strategy, it won’t be long before you hit those magic numbers.

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As we’ve said before, do not try to game the system. Your monetization application could be denied if your channel shows any signs of engaging in “sub4sub” or “view4view” strategies.

In other words, if you’re subscribing to other people’s channels in exchange for subscriptions to your channel, or watching other channels’ videos in exchange for watch hours on your own channel, YouTube could find out and deny (or disable) your monetization. So don’t do it.

YouTube is a search engine, just like Google, so sure, there are ways to improve your visibility, but if you do anything to game the system, YouTube’s advanced algorithm will catch it and penalize your channel.

Engaging in shady YouTube tactics is a risky move and a waste of your time. Trust your creative instincts and focus your efforts on producing content that you love, and you’ll get the subscribers you deserve.

How to Prepare your Channel for Monetization

Before you hit the “Enable Monetization Button” to monetize your channel, there are a few things you can do. To make sure that your channel has the best possible chance of getting approved for monetization.

It can take up to 30 days for YouTube to review your channel. And you’ll have to wait an additional 30 days to apply if your application is denied. So, don’t take any chances—you want revenue to start coming in as soon as possible.

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One of the most common reasons that YouTube doesn’t approve monetization applications is duplication. And by the way, if your application is denied, YouTube will provide a reason on your monetization page. But, always remember, these explanations can be a little vague.

Now let’s talk about how to avoid this issue. When using stock footage and audio, just make sure that you have all of the right licenses in place. This is actually very easy because each purchase of stock footage and audio from Storyblocks comes with a license that you can download at any time.

It’s important to know where to have and understand these licenses even if you’re not monetizing your channel.

4 Steps to enable YouTube Channel Monetization

You’ve reached the required number of subscribers and watch hours, and you’ve checked your channel for red flags—now what?

It’s time to learn how to enable monetization on YouTube.

  1. Click on My Channel in the drop down after you click on your icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  2. From this screen, click on YouTube Studio (beta)
  3. Once you’re in YouTube Studio, find the Channel menu on the left-hand side of your screen, and click on Other Features > Monetization.
  4. Finally, in the Monetization window, click Start.

Once you’ve done this, you’ve accepted the YouTube Partner Program terms. You just have to sign up for AdSense or connect an existing account. This is what ultimately allows your channel to earn money. YouTube will then prompt you to set your monetization preferences. Don’t worry too much about this step—you can change your monetization preferences later and customize it so that you’re only monetizing certain videos.

How long does Monetization Approvals take?

Unfortunately, monetizing on YouTube isn’t as simple as clicking a button. It typically takes 30 days for YouTube to review an application.

However, a backlog does build up from time to time. This is important to keep in mind since it means that you probably won’t be able to start generating revenue for at least 30 days. All you can do is continue to hustle during this waiting period.

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On the other hand, keep posting regularly (the YouTube algorithm rewards channels that post consistently). Also, make sure you’re still focusing on SEO, and remain engaged with your audience. If you allow your channel to lag during this time, it could really hurt you in the long run.

Your YouTube custom channel can always benefit from additional subscribers and watch time—both of which can open up new revenue streams in addition to monetization. There are other monetization options you could choose from;

1. Patronage

Patreon is one of the most popular online patronage platforms for YouTube creators. Patreon allows your loyal followers to pay a certain amount of money each month for access to exclusive content. You can have multiple tiers of patrons, providing them with anything from behind-the-scenes footage to completely new content (that non-paying members can’t see).

Some YouTubers give their patrons access to videos a day early, others even throw in some one-on-one time with the creators themselves. Patreon is a fantastic option for creators with a loyal fanbase. More often than not, that loyalty is gained through consistent communication and engagement with your followers.

2. Merchandise

People love all relevant merchandise. But, before you start printing 1,000 t-shirts for all 1,000 of your subscribers, test the waters a bit.

Ask your audience if they’re interested in buying merchandise from you. You can suggest types of merchandise and even ask them to comment on products that they’d like to buy. Selling merch is especially great if you and your followers use specific lingo, catchphrases, or have inside jokes.

Once you start selling merch, you can also include it in contests, giveaways, or even add it to one of your Patreon tiers.

3. Affiliates

The good news is that it’s pretty easy to get into an affiliate program. The earnings are just lower than what you’d receive with a paid sponsorship.

Once you sign up for an affiliate marketing program with a specific brand, you’ll receive a unique discount code that your followers can use when shopping with that brand. Every time your code is used, you’ll earn a small commission.

Mention the affiliate code in your videos and also include it in your video descriptions to maximize earnings.

4. Product Features

Product Features are a great stepping stone toward paid sponsorships, but they may not result in actual cash.

As you start gaining a larger following, brands might send you their products to feature and/or review in your videos. Free stuff is great, right? You don’t even have to wait for brands to reach out to you—go ahead and pitch yourself to potential sponsors.

Just make sure that you pitch to companies that make sense for your channel (although, you may start receiving random product feature requests along the way).

5. Paid Sponsorships

Paid Sponsorships are the goldmine for making money on YouTube. This is when brands pay you to mention or endorse their product in your videos.

I am going to be completely honest with you—this is a hard goal to reach. But it is never too early to start pitching yourself to companies. Engage with them on social media, show them how you would help their brand. And then, provide examples of successful product sponsorships or affiliate programs you’ve done in the past.

Even if you haven’t quite hit the desired subscriber count yet, you’ll still put yourself on brands’ radars. Again, just make sure that the companies you seek out make sense for the content you produce.

Which are the Alternatives of a YouTube Network?

YouTubers have other options available to them when looking to grow their following or create partnerships with brands.

For instance, staying independent is still a popular preference for many YouTubers on the platform. In fact, YouTube’s own overview page for multi-channel networks states, “While some creators may choose to partner with an MCN, you don’t need to join an MCN to be successful on YouTube.”

In addition to YouTube’s native AdSense program, many YouTubers have been able to successfully attract and manage brand sponsorships on their own. YouTubers have also been able to leverage the community for support and learning, with some setting up “tip jar” accounts through services like Patreon.

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Furthermore, there are now many events geared towards the creator community, including VidConBeautycon, and others, where YouTubers can network with other creators to talk about their experience with different partnerships and revenue streams.

YouTubers looking for additional monetization options can also look at partnering with an influencer marketing platform or influencer marketing agency. Agencies with strong brand relationships can help many YouTubers secure a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities and realize their channel’s money-making potential.

Related Topic Links;
  1. What are Product Features?
  2. Patreon — Change the way art is valued
  3. Affiliate Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
  4. 4 Types Of Merchandise And What They Mean For Retailers
  5. 10 Best Affiliate Marketing Tools and Plugins for WordPress

Finally, I hope the above-revised guide on YouTube Network was helpful. And by all means, if you’ll need more help on this topic, please Contact Us. You can also share your thoughts and questions in the comments section.

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