The 100 largest multi-channel networks (MCNs) on YouTube may have a collective valuation of nearly $10bn, and account for 42% of the online video service’s monthly views.
That’s according to a report from research firm Ampere Analysis, which has been crunching data on the last three years’ worth of acquisitions of MCNs to figure out the value of the rapidly-growing market.
According to the report, the average price paid for an MCN during that period equalled around $0.10 per monthly video view on their network, which suggests a valuation of $100m for an MCN with more than 1bn monthly views.
Ampere claims there are now 22 networks at this level, averaging $21m in annual revenues from YouTube ads and brand partnerships.
Its report also claims that the top 100 MCNs are collectively generating 100bn monthly views - 42% of the total views on YouTube - which would give them a total valuation of nearly $10bn if they were sold using the $0.10-per-view formula.
Will that happen, though? It all depends on the traditional media and entertainment companies that have been the main acquirers of MCNs, with 75% of such deals in the last three years involving traditional media firms including Disney, Discovery Communications, DreamWorks, RTL and ProSiebenSat.1.
“The business model of MCNs is a good fit for many traditional media companies, which understand advertising business models,” said Ampere’s research director Richard Broughton.
“They are also an extremely effective way for traditional media players to reach a younger audience which is leaving traditional media in droves, as well as to experiment with new programme formats and content types.”
That hints at the underlying dynamic in this space: the MCNs portraying themselves as the solution to traditional TV companies’ fears that they are losing “millennials” to YouTube, in the hope that their valuations will be inflated if the traditional firms start to panic about this trend.
Ampere notes that the average MCN sold in the last three years was valued at between 25 and 35 times its annual revenues.
The report also by extension puts a figure on overall YouTube viewing. If the top 100 MCNs’ 100bn monthly views are 42% of YouTube’s total, that total would therefore be just under 240bn views a month: an average of 240 videos watched by each of YouTube’s 1bn monthly visitors.
Ampere’s report comes shortly after a financial report in Sweden shed more light on how much one of YouTube’s biggest stars, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, is making from his popular gaming channel on the service.
Expressen reported that Kjellberg’s PewDiePie Productions company reported SEK 63m (around $7.4m) of revenues in 2014: a year in which his channel generated nearly 4.1bn views, making it the most popular on YouTube.
Kjellberg is currently signed to MCN Maker Studios, which was acquired by Disney in 2014, although he has made noises in the past about striking out alone by launching his own MCN.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 7th July 2015 09.02 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010