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, monetisation and/or sales.

Affiliate and Owned & Operated channels

MCNs can have two different types of channel 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 that 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.  

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.

Key aspects of working with an MCN

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. 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 Programme, 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.

Signing a contract with an MCN

MCN contracts are legally binding, so it's important to make an informed decision. You may even wish to consult your own legal counsel.

Before you join an MCN, read through your contract and make sure that 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 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 that they are specified in your contract.

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, for uploading content that they don't own, for example, 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 Centre

Remove MCN access from your channel

If you're an affiliate creator and you believe that 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 monetisation. If you believe that an MCN is not following YouTube's policies, contact the Creator Support team.

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