Just as it looks like the largest multi-channel network left standing is about to cash out, another is born. British media company Barcroft Media is sinking major money into expanding their successful YouTube channel into a network all its own. The venture doesn’t begin to approach Fullscreen levels, but Barcroft is confident they can build a network in the style of National Geographic or Vice Media, two ventures that have seen a lot of success in recent years with original informational content.
Barcroft’s channel has racked up over half a million subscribers and more than 500 million views with its catalog of short-form viral video stories. The company plans to spend substantial money to commission new content from independent creators which it plans to spread over as many as 10 related channels. The new channels will be based on genre and will mostly feature stories about nature and “the extreme.” It’s a formula that sounds reminiscent of the early, controversy-baiting days of Vice.
Small boutique MCNs have been having a good deal of success over the last year. Those that focus on a particular content genre have found it easier to develop a brand and find support from advertisers than some of the diverse and unwieldy early networks. Barcroft is also looking to digital television services like Japan’s GyaO! and China’s YouKu to expand its reach globally.
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