Multi-Channel Network (MCN) overview for YouTube Creators
Multi-Channel Networks (“MCNs” or “networks”) are third-party service providers that affiliate with multiple YouTube channels to offer services that may include audience development, content programming, creator collaborations, digital rights management, monetization, and/or sales.
MCNs can have two different types of channels under their 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. This means the MCN has obtained the rights to the channel’s YouTube content, 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.
Key aspects of working with MCNs
Joining an MCN is an important choice for any YouTube creator. Before you join, make sure you understand what services and/or results the MCN will deliver in exchange for your payment. You should also make sure you understand when your payments will be distributed, and what protections you have if your MCN fails to pay you on time or fails to pay you what you are owed.While some creators may choose to partner with an MCN, you don’t need to join an MCN to be successful on YouTube.
YouTube resources for all creators
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.
MCN contracts are legally binding, so it's important to make an informed decision. You may wish to even consult your own legal counsel.
Before you join an MCN, read through your contract and make sure you understand at least the following:
- The fees charged by the network
- The specific services and level of support offered to your channel
- Your obligations to the network
- The duration of your contract
- How to terminate your agreement
When you join an MCN, all your revenue will flow through your MCN’s AdSense account, and your MCN will have access to your YouTube Analytics revenue data.
Joining an MCN has no impact on your revenue share with YouTube, which is outlined in your Terms of Service. MCNs typically take a percentage of revenue from the creator’s portion before paying them.
Some MCNs also 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.
While an MCN may be able to help you understand or resolve a copyright claim, strike, or takedown on your channel, the MCN isn’t able to prevent them from happening. Channels that are found to be in violation of YouTube’s community guidelines or copyright policies, such as uploading content they don’t own, will receive strikes or other penalties, whether or not they're part of an MCN.
If you're an affiliate creator and you believe your contract with your MCN allows you to do so, you can request to remove MCN access from your channel.
Best practices for MCNs
All MCNs are responsible for providing value to their creators by following YouTube’s best practices, including:
- Avoiding spammy, misleading language to recruit channels to join an MCN.
- Clearly explaining in a contract the services and levels of support provided.
- Acting in an honest and transparent way with respect to services offered and contractual obligations.
- Onboarding and releasing channels in line with their contracts.
If an MCN doesn't adhere to these best practices, they may lose account features and monetization. If you believe that an MCN is not following YouTube’s policies, contact the Creator Support team.