The Networks panel took place on Friday at Summer in the City 2015. It featured creators including LaurBubble, Niki Albon, and Jamie Jo. It was chaired by Evan Edinger. The panellists kicked things off by discussing their best and worst experiences working with networks.
On the positive end, the creators spoke of successful brand deals, access to collaborations with other creators, free trips to various conventions, and parties – which, according to Evan Edinger, are better in the UK.
On the other end of the spectrum, the panellists told horror stories of unfair contracts, including Jamie Jo who was signed with a network that tried to take 30% of everything that she earned – whether it was from YouTube or not. They spoke of networks who “promise them the world” and then deliver none of it, who send out copy and pasted impersonal emails to increase their client lists, who ignore emails and phone calls, and networks that give brand deals to clients different to who they were intended for simply because they have bigger numbers and can make more money.
From there, the discussion quickly turned into a question and answer session, which many members of the packed audience took advantage of. One attendee asked if it made sense for him to try and join a network if he had just hit 1,000 subscribers. The unanimous answer was no. Many of the panellists, including Meghan Camarena, warned against signing with a network too early. She said that it would cap his potential and that he should grow and cultivate his channel more before getting into the complexities of contracts.
While many creators were hesitant to suggest signing to a network before reaching 100,000 (or more) subscribers, Niki Albon had an alternative stance derived from his own personal experience. “We signed with ChannelFlip two years ago and we had 5,000 subscribers,” he said. “It was a time when all the Google Plus stuff was going on so we weren’t really sure if we were doing YouTube ‘right’, so the value for us [in joining a network] was having someone we could talk to and speak on our behalf. At 5,000 subscribers, AdSense is minimal anyway, so I put more value in the fact that we had a liaison with YouTube themselves.”
One of the big focal points of the panel turned to brand deals and whether you needed networks to get them. “Brands don’t really want to go to networks anymore,” Meghan said candidly. “I’m just going to be 100% honest. I see a lot of brands trying to swerve past my manager and network and go straight to me because it’s a lot easier. They can work with me directly and find exactly what I want.”
Many other panellists agreed, adding that as a smaller creator you can also seek out brand deals on your own through various platforms that allow you to pitch ideas directly to companies and if they like it, they can hire you.
Although there were many precautions listed about joining a network, there was a consensus that as long as you feel well represented, that you have a voice, and that you are being paid attention to, networks can be beneficial to growing your channel. But, they aren’t the only way to be successful; it’s all up to personal preference.
For more, check out our Networking Panel Photo-set on Tumblr.
Photos by: Nathan Li and Dave Bird.
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