“No MCN is going to make you famous. That’s the one thing everyone has to get their heads around,” said Ezra Cooperstein, chief operating officer at Fullscreen, to an audience of producers, creators and media execs at Buffer Festival’s Industry Day conference on Thursday.
They also can’t provide health coverage, as one (probably Canadian) audience member inquired at the fest during a panel about the role of MCNs.
So what can the Culver City-based multi-channel network do for creators? One of the main areas of business for Fullscreen, which works with 50,000 creators including the Fine Bros., Lohanthony and Devin Supertramp, is to represent a channel’s ad inventory, Cooperstein explained.
“We know how to get brands excited about working with YouTube talent, and we know the right way to execute those campaigns,” he said.
Increasingly, they’re also looking to represent content and license it off YouTube, he added.
Before the panel last week, we asked Cooperstein about additional ways the MCN works with creators to grow their channels, monetize content and adjust programming according to smart audience analytics.
Q: How do you work with someone who has 50K to 600K subs? What are some of their biggest concerns, and are they ready for sponsorship deals?
At the 50k-600k sub mark, a creator’s concern is how to make YouTube a full-time job. They’re interested in developing a brand horizontally and better monetizing their reach. They consider how to give their channel a professional, more consistent look, paying more attention to thumbnails, banners and merchandising opportunities for their brand. At this stage, a creator serious about making their career in online video should be seeking an MCN partner to help them grow.
Fullscreen, through its Creator Platform and talent development services, offers optimization advice and tools, in addition to fostering collaborations within the network.
At the 100K mark, sponsorship deals are possible if a creator has a brand-friendly channel, a strong creative voice and content that has potential to reach new audiences. Creators need to ensure their business inquiry form or contact information is in every description and “about” section across all social media profiles. Being accessible to brands is key.
Creators at any level have access to firstname.lastname@example.org, which offers support for optimization, brand services and Creator Platform questions, just as a talent manager would provide. At the highest level, a creator would receive daily attention.
Q: A creator who has 1M to 3M subs is likely on the brink of major success, but they have to keep that momentum going. What kind of deals can you bring to the table? How do you help them with their programming strategy? What are some of the most common concerns you hear?
Our mission is to empower creators across any platform. We offer all creators access to our suite of technologies that support audience growth and monetization. For those growing in the millions, we develop a number of partnership opportunities for creators to benefit through collaborations, content distribution, original content production, licensing, publishing and brand partnerships. We’ve committed to investing $10 million in original content production, and also aim to work with select creators to fund their passion projects.
Programming by brand requires assessing the creator’s voice and aligning with their audience on a consistent basis. The creator knows their audience best, but we provide support by giving them the tools to ask the right questions and provide insights that can keep viewers coming back for more. Programming, in our case, means listening to audience feedback, reading and adjusting according to analytical data and pivoting programming as needed to make the best product for your audience.
Longevity and consistency are big challenges for creators at this level. The key question is: how do you keep offering fresh content and introducing new programming without alienating your fan base?
Q: How do you ensure superstar creators, with 4M subs or more, make a smooth transition to other platforms? What is the most common concern when it comes to their programming strategy or rollout?
If transitioning to other platforms, creators should maintain open communication with fans. Creators at this level shouldn’t be afraid to say, “I’m trying this out. Let me know what you think,” because fans are responsive and reactive. At this level, fans are participating in the creator’s career and success. Audiences will forgive creators for a few missteps, but their reactions can’t go ignored.
The process of connecting a brand to a creator, producing and executing a series can depend on the size of the project. Many of the creators in the network have very clear formats or can develop a branded format that’s authentic for their audience quickly. These creators are versatile, so more time may allow them to develop something extraordinary for their audience, but an integration into an existing format can still garner millions of views in a matter of hours or days.
Many top brands plan their initiatives a year out. However, Fullscreen’s production arm has executed and fulfilled branded video within very short time frames. Our team has produced premium content for major TV networks, but is savvy, and understands the needs of content’s intended audience on any platform and any format, whether short form or episodic.
Creators at this level want to succeed and make great, reliably entertaining content. Most YouTubers become popular by doing one thing very well. At this level, they want to grow and try different projects, so they might explore podcasting or new formats. The concern is to maintain consistency with their audience and explore formats that will maintain strong relationships with viewers. As long as the creator knows their brand and respects their viewers, they will often succeed across any platform.