YouTube Networks: 7 Things You Need to Know

Over the course of the last year, we’ve been fielding increasing requests from people wanting to know about potentially joining a YouTube Network – Maker, Machinima, Revision3, to name a few. These networks can do a lot of things. Among their services are providing you with production support, helping link you as a creator with brands and finding brand deals, and an increased (usually flat rate) CPM. What they ask for in exchange varies – some ask to own your content, others ask to take a percentage of your revenue, and others may ask you to work with their other artists.

Online video “networks” bear striking similarities to the old Hollywood studio system in the 20s (Danny Zappin straight up says that’s basically what Maker is in this Fast Company article). Studios back then strove to do two things – first, to bring together a bunch of creatives and their means of production under one roof and own their content, and second, to control the means of distribution of that content. The same can essentially be said for how online networks are operating today – except that the control of the distribution is very easy for them (the studio system basically got sued trying to do that and that’s why theater chains aren’t owned by Universal Pictures or Paramount)

A good summary of these networks and what they do can be found here.

I consider what I’m about to say as essential advice for anybody who is approached by these networks or is interested in joining these networks. I am writing the following because I’m tired of seeing people get screwed by their contracts, or entering into legally binding relationships without fully understanding the implications of their actions. And most importantly – if we, the creators, band together and act as a unified front, we won’t be bullied by ridiculous contracts and business practices online – practices that have been, even by the standards of the entertainment industry, shockingly predatory.

Simply put, if we all follow the advice below, that means better deals for everybody.

Additionally, if you are not being pursued by a network or have no interest in joining a network, take a gander at this article anyway. We cover a lot of the mentality behind treating online video production as a business, and some of our tips may be helpful in a broader sense.

Before we begin, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of Fisher and Ury’s Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. It’s an invaluable manual for how to conduct yourself in a negotiation (which is what you’ll be doing with these networks).

Please note, before we continue – the following does not constitute legal advice. It’s for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, you need an actual lawyer, which I am most certainly not.

In the interest of full disclosure – the FreddieW channel is represented by Collective Digital Studios. We followed all our own advice when we talked about signing on with them, and because of that, we’ve been very happy with our relationship.

Enough chit-chat – here are the 7 things you absolutely must know if you’re dealing with a Network.

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120 responses to “YouTube Networks: 7 Things You Need to Know”

  1. Fuck You says:


  2. Bloodjack says:


  3. fantastic advice guys thanks

  4. followthefoot says:

    This is perfect.  I’m just going through this process right now, and you’ve got some good advice.  Thanks freddiew

  5. Games-Panorama says:

    Thanks from Germany! Really great articel! 

  6. Stung65 says:

    Is it really necessary to have a network to work for?  I thought it was Youtube who paid, not the networks…why give them anything if all they do is take your money?

    • IvanROE says:

      You still get paid from ads sold on YouTube but if you sign with a network, the network is the one who negotiates your ad rates and can get you brand deals. Brand deals will bring in more money than you might have been able to bring in on your own. So in the end, yes, you are giving some of it back. However, you’re probably making a lot more than you’d be able to individually 

    • Freddie Wong says:

      It’s not necessary – staying with YouTube adsense is always the alternative to a negotiated agreement. But the idea is (hopefully) they take your money but they’re also making you more money than you could otherwise, as IvanROE says.

      • AAHD says:

        How are you enjoying CDS and are you aware if its suitable for channels under 100k with a baseline contract deal?

  7. Robeomega says:

    Im scared of being in a network now…

  8. this article is to the point, it not only takes a certain amount of creativity and talent to be on youtube these days, it takes an equal amount of business acumen to work your deals with networks. So many new comers forget this is a business these days. if you do not apply the rules of business, you shouldnt be in a network. of course this is just my opinion, i could be wrong…but i’m not 🙂

  9. ReallyRick says:

    I was JUST about to sign on the dotted line with Maker Studios (RPM Networks) and am now reconsidering after reading this!

  10. JuliusMagnus says:

    Nice article.

    thought networks are necessary if you have a gaming channel that relies
    on gameplay footage.

    Youtube will not put adsence on that type of content (copyrighted) you’d
    need to go through one of the networks who can negotiate around it.

    Isn’t that why there are seperate gaming focussed networks like Machinima, Curse and The Game Station (that last one is actually a subsidiairy of Maker)?

    Seems gaming youtubers are in a more difficult positions since until they get an offer from one of these networks they can’t actually earn anything.

    Also it has been with Machinima that there has been some drama surrounding life-time contracts.

  11. Zack Boone says:

    Thanks, Freddie. Great post!

  12. Shaun says:

    Great article, super informative. I’m surprised you guys aren’t starting your own network, seems like a lot of the big youtubers are headed in that direction. It feels like a gold rush right now. Lots of companies vying for what will potentially become the ABC’s and NBC’s of the internet.

  13. Luke Waggy says:

    cool article. whats up?

  14. Great article and fantastic advice for creators.

  15. LiviTheNerd says:

    You missed out Fullscreen in the list of networks 🙂

  16. LiviTheNerd says:

    Oh no silly me, you didnt…

  17. LiviTheNerd says:

    But you did miss out Channel Flip on the networks list! They are a huge UK network 🙂

  18. Jason Terry says:

    thank you

  19. Jason12583 says:

    This is very helpful. I just signed my contract will CreatorX/Fullscreen. 

  20. Brad Botanel says:

    Does being a youtube partner and signing onto a network run concurrently? If I were to guess, that is how Roosterteeth operates. Whenever they can they embed videos on their website while all the videos are still available on their youtube channel.

  21. Coryewing1 says:

    Great Post! This is what I have been searching for. Fullscreen contacted me about a partnership now I know what to expect. 

  22. Liberty Hour says:

    Not sure if this is the place to ask, but what do you think of this concept trailer:  They use CGI, lots of guns, etc., and it looks interesting (perhaps some Freddie and Brandon polish on the effects would help). Anyway, if you like the trailer, they need help getting it funded… 

    • Taylor Beck says:

      Hi, I checked out the trailer. The effects look really well done and the dark – almost noire – theme really stands out. That was all really fascinating. However, the thing that seemed to stand out as not so attractive to me was the storyline. I felt as if the trailer was jumping around quite, and I ended up slightly confused as result. I’m not sure if this was the intended effect, but that’s what I noticed. All around, it is definitely a solid trailer. 

      • TheEvolutionary says:

        Not trying to sound Pompous oh Taylor Beck, but to me the story basically seems to play out as not following a central character, but following multiple character storylines.   The Mother who denied the system or maybe didn’t even have a choice, being hunted down by the government, it shows that Altair esque character seeming to play some Vital role in a resistence, the Captain(or whatever rank he is) carrying out his orders, but possibly with some regret.  Personally i found the trailer to be very well made, and high quality.  The story seems interesting, as do most of the centralized characters, but i believe a longer more detailed trailer, with Narration and such, would be a strong way to help other people familiarize themselves with characters.  Normally when a movie or any project comes out, people tend to have a few names going into it, otherwise if you go into something like that and your hit with a bunch of new names the audience can get confused as to who is who.

        • Ubiq says:

           This is what I got out of the trailer: there’s chaos.

          I don’t have a clue why, other than some random Berlin-Wall-differentiation of the population, because the trailer was too chaotic itself for me. Oh and something with

          Also a certain woman seems to be the main caracter, although I’m absolutely not sure if it was the same woman in all the instances I thought I saw her come by in the trailer. And is there any relationship with the boy who figured somewhat prominently when he received the delta mark?

          All in all quite confusing, storywise. It prevented me from getting sucked into it. Which I frankly even found a bit annoying.

          Professional effects, though.

    • Freddie Wong says:

      Looks nice, but I’m curious about the actual storyline. Their synopsis on their IndieGogo page is just fleshing out cool dystopian things that are happening, but I want to know more about the story that’s being explored.

      • GrayState says:

        Freddie – I am the writer/director of Gray State, and had you on my list of people to contact about the project (long time fan of your work). What you saw is a concept trailer only, and not representative of the actual storyline, which is well-crafted, layered, and intelligent. If you are interested in further information, contact us at 

  23. Where does Cost Per Click fit in with networks? I don’t have a network and get paid by AdSense for both CPC and CPM.
    Another great artcle – thanks.

  24. This is very helpful. I just signed my contract will CreatorX/Fullscreen.

  25. DIYHacksAndHowTos says:

    Thanks for the advice. I make how-to videos ( I was recently contacted by two networks (PBSDigitalStudios and Revision3). Since the kinds of videos that they are interested in are on opposite sides of the spectrum, I am considering making a second channel and joining both. PBS wants to take 30% but leaves me full rights to everything and I can back out at any time. Revision3 hasn’t given my any hard numbers yet but I am talking to them next week. Would you say 30% is reasonable for someone starting out.

  26. Luke D says:

    Great stuff! Thanks for this post.

  27. Harry101UK says:

    Great read, I was recently approached by The Collective too; they’re drafting up a contract as I type. Thank you very much for the advice Freddie! =) 

  28. Shae Rivard says:

    How does Rocket Jump compare to other networks out there?  Do you consider yourselves a network in the same sense as the ones you listed?

  29. Joey Grover says:

    What are the benefits and requirements of joining Rocket Jump?

    •  Uhmm, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Rocket Jump is a network, that’s just the brand name of Freddie and his crew…

      • Friendzonefre-er says:

        I believe it is just a group of YouTubers, Much like RoosterTeeth (but obviously not copying at all) Rooster teeth has multiple people from different YouTube channels (Slow-mo guys, Rage quit, Achievement hunter) but they all fall under the large company “Rooster Teeth” I think Rocket Jump is much like that. 

        • shortbread says:

           Slow-mo guys are not part of RoosterTeeth. Gavin is in both, but that doesn’t mean it belongs to RT. Rage Quit and Achievement Hunter are not separate YouTube channels. They are done in their offices where they all work together.

  30. esscape says:

    Now we are getting down to business – I had the impression that everything that you guys did was just all fun

  31. Luc says:

    Maker Studios links to TGS, by the way!

  32.  Awesome article guys.  I’ve increased my knowledge at least 1000%.  I would add one to the list of Networks: RPM, its a newer network thats a part of maker and is aimed to smaller youtubers.  They claim good things, and I haven’t heard anything terrible about them.  But I could imagine what they’re trying to get away with when they’re dealing with people who think the partnership is basically their only option.  I thought about going with them, but never did.  I think I’m better off without them.  I would however like to join a network that can introduce me to other content creators who want to collaborate.  Thats really the only thing I have a hard time doing on my own.

  33. GusMonkeyTV says:

    This was beyond helpful!  Thank you for taking the time to put this together.  What a great site and content.  I’ve been a YouTube Partner for a couple years.  Last week, I was approached by a subsidiary of a network in the top ten.  Through email they said their standard terms were a 5 year contract at a 60/40 split.  Which is completely insane.  ANyhow, I’m still trying to figure out if I should stick with my YouTube Partnership or see what other networks will offer.  What I really want is the possible promotion machine a network might provide.  Ah, well.. that’s enough rambling.

  34. Much like RoosterTeeth (but obviously not copying at all) Rooster teeth has multiple people from different YouTube channels

    • shortbread says:

      Not similar at all. All the content on RTs channel are made by people in their company in their own offices. When RT hires someone, they then work for their company. These people may have personal YouTube channels, but RT does NOT partner/pay them for anything they do on their personal channels.

      Also, according to socialblade, RoosterTeeth is partnered with Machinima. Doesn’t really make sense to be a network within a network.

  35. sp says:

    does anyone know HOW content creators get paid by the studios (as an employee with a W2, or an independent contractor,etc.?)

  36. Wantanmien aka Maria Wong says:

    Hi Freddie, my name is Maria Wong and I am a small YT Partner from Germany with 23 000 subscribers at the moment. I make cantonese cooking tutorials and though I live here in Germany my audience is mostly in Hongkong, the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. I wondered if there are any big food or cooking related networks that work internationally and have similar creators/ artists like me in their portfolio. Any help is greatly appreciated. BTW my channelname is Wantanmien. Maybe you wanna have a look. Thank you so much!

    • Søren Pedersen says:

      Hi Maria Wong.

      Can you contact me via Skype?: SorenP8000

      I would like to know how you made it as a YT-partner. I leve in Denmark and make som youtube-videoes about sports, and I would like to make my own MCN (Youtube Network), but I dont know how, and I would love som help from our neighbours in Germany.

      Thank you in advantage,

  37. thearcticpyro says:

    Networks are bad. Look at what happened to RWJ

  38. Nick says:

    Hello  Freddie. Are you part of any networks yourself?

  39. Paul Kay says:

    I allowed myself to use this article for the purpose of my “YouTube Partnership as a means of self-employment” bachelor degree essay 🙂 Im sure people would appreciate the tips.

  40. Steve says:

    Hey freddie

    I really appreciate the time you took to put this together. I have been approached by the collective a few months back but wasn’t sure if i was just being scamed or what. the info you put up made it all so much clearer on how to come to a decision. Anyway, thanks a lot mate. Your the Man!

    • t says:

      Hi, I was also approached by them. I would really appreciate hearing how things worked out?

  41. TheYankeeGI says:

    Was thinking of applying for a network, now I think it’s better for me just to be independent and be in control of all my revenue, Only thing I’d really use the network for is advertising, and if I want I can just promote my videos on Youtube…
    Being a Youtube partner is just fine with me.

    If a network offers me something, then I’ll be interested. But on my terms. Because I really don’t need them…

  42. pemperlem says:

    Can anyone help with making a choice between Fullscreen or Maker or Righster?

    • advisor says:

      maker they have a high revenue so more money and promote so well i am part of them and had 5k video views and then next day 7k then 12k so on and have low requirements to join rpm is part of maker so if i was you choose them

    • Jorgur says:

      I would look at your options for the networks who do not lock you into a contract.

    • Guest says:

      Hello i suggest the RPM network go to

      to apply

  43. Chiszle says:

    90% payout, no tie-in, no flat cpm, open network support. That’s ‘Age’ network. They run ‘Age-of-Gaming’ right now, but once big enough they will go further with other kinds of channels.

  44. AAHD says:

    I was contacted by Collective Digital Studios to join their network…trying to decide what to do.

  45. Nathanael_rouillard says:

    Base79 is like the biggest one in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

  46. jemile says:

    top article i’ve been looking at this for a while … and i have found this a great help, confidence booster and enjoyable read .. thank you Freddie

  47. Tee Forest says:

    Great article!! Just curious, do you think networks also benefit your exposure? As far as getting viewed by their subscribers? And do networks apply exclusivity?

    • TheDigiZoo says:

      Not at all. I’m a part of fullscreen as a small partner through the creator x program. I have not grown exponentially with them at all, in fact, I’m stagnating a bit more, if you are small, they will do nothing more than profit from you, they wont help whatsoever.

  48. Punica says:

    90% Revenue Share | 10 Months Lock-In Contract | Partnership within 24 Hours!

  49. xbox360repairdiy says:

    My channel ( recently joined the Militia Network partner channel and have seen an immediate increase in views/revenues across all my videos, as well as my own personal blog and other related links. It’s a 1 year contract and they pay 70%. Not all of these people are bad but I do agree, read the contract. If it’s wordy, they’re probably trying to hide something.

  50. Tom Konkle says:

    Great article! – Tom

  51. Knovolt says:

    My small channel as you can see is small indeed. But, I heard about Freedom! or as they call it YTGamers offer no lock in contracts and accept channels of all sizes. That no lock in contract is what hooked me in. They offer a 40/60 (60 to you) revenue share. Fantastic community too!

  52. Billy Hanning says:

    You should join with Maker they are awesome!

  53. Matthew Winter says:

    I’d like to know more about the financial side with production studios; which way is the best way to fund our venture when producing online content?

  54. Michael Vera says:

    Freddie will you go on a date with me

  55. Northern Lights says:

    Can any of you guys recommend me if its good idea to join any network, even with no contract lock ?

    I started my channel out of curiosity, but i like it so much now, sadly there is no interaction with people , or barely any.. 🙁 . I don’t even know in area should i improve, commentating, planning, quality, or something else. How would you got about this ? Is joining the network will help in any way to start interacting with people more ?

    • Joining a network will help if you make great content that the majority of the YouTube community loves to watch. The network will then assist you to promote your awesome work within the network and also elsewhere so that it will go viral even faster. Networks will also give you other opportunities that YouTube will not do as good by itself. But the first rule applies – you have to make great content that the network thinks it’s awesome enough to promote it because after all there is financial interest behind it. Otherwise, like YouTube, networks can’t do much for you. No one can.

      • Northern Lights says:

        I appreciate your answer, thanks a lot. I’m kinda passive, i enjoy uploading episodes, and today i did a special episode which took me around 5-6 hours in total to prepare. I lack quality so i was wondering if a network guys will check and point me in right direction without my request. Thanks you again.

        • They will probably give you some basic ideas just as much as YouTube will. You’ll have to do your own research and studies as well. You can start from here at these links:

          • Northern Lights says:

            Thank you for the Links. I think I have put too much faith in Networks help, I was thinking they got some people working for them who actually promote their channels on popular web sites, etc. So basically if you familiar with all this “tricks” on how to make your channel more proffesional and appealing, there is no point joining Network. I joined Freedom, and its contract lock free, so i guess i’m free to leave after I read a bit more .

          • They can’t do that for everyone as it will be considered spamming. So they will carefully choose videos that has great potential of people liking to watch it. They will also promote channels and videos provided it has great content to begin with.

    • David Sheppard says:

      If you are hoping to join a community that offers feedback and advice on LP-ing then consider joining a facebook group called “The Let’s Play Corner” that joined last summer. People post videos and then everyone who wants to offers feedback and we all answer each others questions on related LP topics. I’ve found it very helpful. Feel free to drop my name. Either was good luck on future videos.

  56. Tom Martin says:

    Great to see that Creators of note such as Freddie here and Hank Green on his channel talking about this issue. Especially for people getting started it can be hard to resist the promises some networks make.

    I have written my own thoughts on this issue that includes a few extra points not covered here – hope it helps

  57. Tra says:

    Whats up Freddie and pleople! My name is tra and I also trying to make action videos.
    My channel now have over 1800 subs.

    Of course I have things that needs improvement, but overall with what I have, I think my Videos are pretty decent. What would be a good network for a small time Youtuber like me??

  58. Hey Freddie, my channel is currently talking to CDS. Thanks for the advice, I wonder if you have any more as the internet world has and is always changing. My channel is Curious whether this will find you…

  59. ayo gg says:

    Chicken Pork Adobo:
    New MCN for Filipinos

  60. BeautyBanterBlog says:

    Ive gotten a few network requests but my most recent seems the most legitimate. All of this is very new to me and I have a lot of research to do but this article was a great start, thanks!

  61. Big Cat Rescue says:

    This article ranked highly, but as you noted, 2 years is forever in Internet time and this article is 3 years old. Is there a consultant specialist industry for those trying to compare YouTube networks? I don’t even know what phrase to search for this.

  62. Mang U Dienz says:

    Hii Freddy, I am a big fan your Youtube channel Rocket Jump!! That’s very awesome channel. This article help me to decision about MCN (Multi Channel Network). Too many MCN and I am confused. But, I want to ask you, Whether to participate MCN or stand alone with Google Adsense ? Thank You. 🙂 Terima Kasih 🙂

  63. Curtis says:

    Hello everyone. My name is Curtis and I am the CEO of the Distance Network. We are a gaming/geeks youtube network currently offering 70% revenue share for anyone who has around 35 views a day. If you are interested. PM me on our channel!

    • Kent Wreckless Morgan says:

      what revenue would anyone be sharing if they’re only getting 35 views a day? even before the adpocalypse, 35 views a day is a matter of pennies.

  64. Kids World says:

    I am new to this and this is my channel for kids entertainment.

  65. Banana Cartoon says:

    funny minions video ever

  66. Oliver Chalk says:

    Hey all. I am the founder of Photon Network (http// we offer 80 – 85 % revenue shares and are open for discussion 🙂 We are an emerging network however our senior staff have lots of experiencing in YouTube management. I personally devote hours every day to talking with channels no matter the size. We are looking for motivated channels and even staff! Feel free to contact us on our website or at

  67. Sam Mollaei says:

    Hi everybody! I’m a YouTube lawyer and I help YouTubers negotiate and deal with Multi-Channel Networks (MCN). If anyone has any questions, please email me

    Read more:

  68. H an (Han) says:

    What about pave network?

  69. John Sinclair says:

    Join Militia Network and be partnered under 24 hours!

  70. anas Ben jari says:

    My experience with this Network, tell me it is the best :
    my referraf link :

  71. mo says: feel free to subscribe i will sub back 😀

  72. Avoid scam networks! says:

    Be aware of scam youtube networks! They don’t pay, they lock you within their network.
    Here is info that might be useful for you –

  73. Will Biersack says:

    i got a fucking community strike for no fucking reason because someone dosnt like me all it was is a vlog in the woods and i got striked for bullying when there was no rules broken and because im a small youtuber im basically fucked all my work is for nothing and because i only have 60 subs youtube wont listen to me 😢 is there anyway i can get my appeal noticed by youtube because this is all i want in life and if i get terminated then i will have nothing left what do i do
    i have anxiety and i hate going outside because of the bullying so i sometimes have panic attacks when i go out but because so many people wanted me to do a vlog outside i decided i would do it so i did and i was the only person in the video and i didnt even mention anyone in the video and i was facing my fear on camera because people wanted to see it and this is what i get a fucking strike for harassment and bullying wtf

  74. FredRs says:

    also i am about to sign with freedom mcn
    and i don’t think these networks are that bad i mean they help you get views and subs and cpm in exchange for a cut of the profit witch isn’t so bad if you ask me
    that and some are like 90/10 and that’s pretty frikkin good so idk i think more people should sign with a network
    check out my channel also =D

  75. tobe says: do i have to join MCN to increase my views?

  76. Ariel Fitz-Patrick says:

    Hi! Thanks for this article. It was very helpful. What do you think about BroadBandTV?