By Sahil Patel
As YouTube creators and networks continue to search for opportunities beyond the world’s biggest video site, an interesting thing is happening with traditional media companies and legacy publishers — they’re moving in the opposite direction.
In most cases, these companies are simply partnering with YouTube talent on content or promotional campaigns in the hopes of attracting their large, young, and engaged audiences.
Some companies — Conde Nast and Hearst, to name a few — have gone a step further and made heavy investments in the YouTube ecosystem. The latest in this thread, it appears, is male lifestyle publisher Complex Media, which is launching a new vertical-focused multi-channel network on YouTube.
Complex already boasts of a strong online video business. The company says its video network aggregates more than 120 million unique viewers each month. This includes its owned Complex TV platform, which launched in early 2013, as well as a syndication network that includes YouTube and Dailymotion.
Now the publisher wants to pay greater attention to YouTube, with a new MCN organized around five verticals core to its business: music, men’s fashion, sneaker culture, and sports.
The Complex MCN launches with 40 creators and channels on board, including DJ Vlad (669,000 subscribers), Tony Hawk’s Ride Channel (752,000 subscribers), and Hes Kicks (81,000 subscribers). Complex’s main YouTube channel (124,000 subscribers) as well as channels for its different sites within its larger media network are also part of the offering, which collectively reaches 6 million subscribers on YouTube.
For creators, Complex’s MCN is an opportunity to not only produce content with the company, but also take advantage of its sales force, which will look to coordinate larger vertical-spanning media buys, says Complex.
“Our sales team has proven successful at amplifying campaigns across our publisher network of over 120 media brands on the editorial side,” says Complex’s Video GM Nathan Brown. “We are excited to provide the same opportunity for video creators across YouTube, as well as Complex’s own publishing brands.”
On the content side, Complex will occasionally turn to its network when sourcing talent for new original programming (non-affiliated creators will be considered, too.) As for the slate of original content on Complex TV, including shows like “Magnum Opus,” “Riff Raff Realm,” and “Complex News,” as well they will various one-off pieces, Complex says they will be “funneled” into the appropriate verticals within the network.