Hipset, a San Francisco-based music startup and Y combinator alumni, is announcing today that it is going to become a YouTube network. This is a space that has been heating up recently, with FullScreen reportedly raising a $30 million round from the Chernin Group and Comcast and other players like Big Frame joining in on the action with a $3 million raise. The war for content and talent started a few years ago when Google announced that it was going to dish out up to $100 million to acquire new content for YouTube in its effort to become the “next generation cable provider.” Not long after, these so-called “multi channel networks (MCN)” saw the opportunity to scoop up channels and content in hopes of providing them with value-added resources like new monetization opportunities, channel collaboration and brand deals.
Hipset’s new network will be known as the “Hipset Network” and already has a notable list of celebrities involved, including: Tyga, Souljaboy, Lil Twist, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Rob Zombie, Kraddy, Kris Allen, DJ Skee, Tory Lanez, and Ryan Leslie. These celebrities have a combined 1 billion views on YouTube and distribution to over 35 million fans. According to CEO Matt Schlicht, “Hipset is not the typical network. We are different because we not only find monetization for our artists’ videos, but we are also focused on building out their fanbase and regular viewership.” Matt says that they do this by helping to optimize talents’ metadata, defining their video strategy, scheduling their uploads, setting up collaborations with top YouTubers, and using their technology to develop and retain their audience on YouTube.
Not long ago, they announced the launch of their first technology tool called Boost which has similar functionalities as a “pay wall” and requires fans to subscribe to a content creator’s channel before they are able to view a video. In addition to requiring fans to subscribe to a YouTube channel, they are announcing today that they have released new functionalities for Boost which allows content creators to require fans to follow and like them on various social channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) before they are able to view content.
Backed by a group of high profile investors and celebrity endorsement, it will be interesting to see where this new direction takes Hipset. With more money being poured into the fledgling YouTube space, it will be important for these up-and-coming MCNs to differentiate themselves and to provide real value to channels. Every network provides a different set of resources and tools for channels, but it seems like the network with the most monetization opportunities for channels will be the one that comes out on top.
About the author: Derrick Fung is the co-founder and CEO of Tunezy – a website where fans can gain access to exclusive experiences with their favourite YouTubers. Derrick is a top 20 under 30 entrepreneur named by Profit Magazine and a former investment banker.