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. 

All channels that are part of a MCN must also have their channel reviewed and follow YouTube monetization policies.

Affiliate and Owned & Operated channels

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 partner. This means the partner has obtained exclusive rights to the channel's YouTube content and actively manages the operation of the channel (e.g. uploading videos) on a day to day basis. To the extent that the partner has less than perpetual, worldwide exclusivity to the O&O channel’s uploaded content, it is the partner’s responsibility to use appropriate features to manage the availability of the content on the platform.

Differentiating between these two types of channels allows YouTube to apply our policies and channel features with clarity and fairness.

MCNs and other third-party service providers are not endorsed by YouTube or Google, but you can view a list of YouTube Certified service providers in the Creator Services Directory.

Interested in becoming a MCN partner? Fill out our Enterprise Intake Form and we'll be in touch!

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.

YouTube for Creators is the best place to learn about all the programs, tools, and upcoming events that can help you create better videos. You can also get help growing your channel with the YouTube for Creators benefits program.

Signing a contract with an MCN

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
Revenue & getting paid

When you join an MCN, all your revenue will flow through your MCN’s AdSense for YouTube 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.

Blocking and controlling ads

Although controlling ads should be used sparingly, affiliate creators can do this in the AdSense for YouTube account linked to their channel. Learn more about allowing and blocking ads.

Strikes & takedowns

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.

You can learn about how to keep your channel free from strikes and takedowns in the Policy and Safety Hub and YouTube Copyright Center.

Remove MCN access from your channel

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.

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