Earlier this month, AdWeek’s Mike Shields referred to rumors that multi-channel network Maker Studios was building a YouTube rival as “fairly dubious.” Shield’s arguments were justified in many ways, especially as the whole rumor was cooked up by entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, who has a history of fueling the tech media engine with overblown announcements.
As it turns out, Maker is working on a web-based platform, just not one of the YouTube-competing variety as it was originally reported to be by VidInk. In fact, the new web platform is so far from being a YouTube rival that, according to AdWeek, Maker has already spoken to YouTube officials about keeping their talent on the Google-owned site for the foreseeable future.
So, what’s this new Maker Studios-created web platform all about then?
According to AdWeek’s sources, Maker has hired a team of developers to roll out their mystery platform by fall. The web platform is rumored to allow Maker to “diversify” their content, and could include anything from new streaming shows to various ad-driven verticals.
Sources have also said that the new platform will avoid user-generated content and open-to-the-public-access a la YouTube.
“These MCNs just aren’t making enough money,” a source told AdWeek, which is a sentiment echoed by more than just Maker Studios. Earlier this year, Big Frame began launching audience-specific verticals including fashion and lifestyle digital community Wonderly and urban web platform Forefront TV.
Splitting revenue with YouTube was a key factor in a controversial article posted by Calacanis recently, and it continues to be a highly debated topic. With networks in some cases footing production and marketing costs for their creators, it becomes easy to see why some MCNs might not be happy about paying YouTube simply for hosting.
However, not every network is as unhappy with splitting revenue as Maker. CEO of Fullscreen George Strompolos told AdWeek:
“Just like with any media company, you want to distribute any place where you can make money. YouTube in particular is a tremendous place to build a company. But you go in with your eyes wide open. The notion of not putting all your eggs in one basket is not really a new concept. But it’s a little strange that people are rallying against the mothership.”
Calacanis, who has been a key voice in this debate, has different opinions, however. “The problem is YouTube has created a resentment,” he told AdWeek. “The conversation amongst creators, it’s turned adversarial … [YouTube] wants to obscurify your ability to understand your relationship with advertisers. They want to create legions of dependents … It’s really socialism.”
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