On this week's Reel Web, we cover several online video related news items from the past week including the new YouTube studio space just opened in Los Angeles, updates to VYou's video Q&A platform, and more.  We also spend some time addressing a common question that we often receive through our YouTube channel, "Should I join a YouTube network? And if so, which one?"

YouTube Networks: The Pros & Cons of Joining a Partner Network

You may be wondering whether or not you should join a YouTube network. The rapid rise of online video studios and YouTube networks like Machinima, BigFrame, Maker Studios, FullScreen, and a host of others presents new options for creators to consider, but navigating this new world can be a bit overwhelming.  There are certainly a lot of YouTube Networks out there to choose from and all of them offer a lot of great perks for signing on as a network partner, but are the benefits worth any drawbacks and downsides?

Ray William Johnson, who recently left Maker Studios (a "YouTube network") and therefore clearly has an opinion, gave his thoughts on the viability of partnering with YouTube networks in an interview post on NewMediaRockStars.com.  Ray stated the following:

I don’t know everything there is to know about Youtube-based networks, but as far as I do know, there’s no good reason to ever sign your Youtube Adsense account over to a 3rd party. Ever. Period. Anything a Youtube-based network wants to do for you, they can accomplish without seizing control of your Adsense account.

If you want production or managerial assistance, then partner with a production entity or manager and pay them a percentage of your expected revenue, but don’t sign your Adsense over to them. Furthermore, from a business perspective, there’s no long-term business plan in owning a collection of thousands of Youtube Adsense accounts. Again, I say this having somewhat limited knowledge of every single Youtube-based network out there. I know there are dozens of them (networks) at this point, and who knows, maybe some of them are doing great things.

Clearly Ray doesn't see any reason why anyone should ever, under any circumstance, sign over their AdSense account to someone else or to a network of any kind.

That being said, everyone is different and clearly there are benefits to joining these networks as evidenced by the many established YouTube channels that have formed partnerships with YouTube networks.  Additionally, many of these networks really can help when it comes to production and marketing resources.  Therefore, we recommend separately evaluating the pros and cons of each network to determine on your own if there's a good upside for your specific channel needs and goals.  This is a somewhat nacent market and business models will likely evolve.  At the very least, keep your eye on the networks to see if they make sense for your efforts.

QUESTION: If you've signed with a YouTube network, has it been worth it? Comment below

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the concept of a YouTube network, here's a good overview post about online video studios and YouTube networks.

What does YouTube have to say about it? 

It is entirely up to you whether you would like to join a network. YouTube does not suggest or recommend any particular networks. Before making your decision, you should evaluate the benefits any network promises to provide against the payment the network is seeking from you, and you should thoroughly investigate the network’s track record. You may wish to consult legal counsel before entering into any agreement with a network. YouTube has no involvement in these agreements as they are between the network and the channel owner directly.

List of YouTube Networks:

Here's a list of several YouTube Networks that we're aware of.  There are many others popping up from time to time so feel free to let us know if there are others that we missed in the comments below.

YouTube Studio Production Space in Los Angeles

YouTube has set up a new creator space for qualified partners out in LA.  They’ve renovated a 41,000 square foot facility that was once an old airplane hangar, and have turned it into a place with resources for YouTube users.  NewMediaRockStars.com toured the facility and you can find photos of the space on their blog.  The location in LA  provides a lot of training programs and workshops.  It’s a place where you can get hands-on experience from industry leaders, attend events and network with fellow creators to share idea and collaborate.

At the facility, you’ll have access to a variety of resources including:  two production stages, a recording studio, three green screen rooms, a motion capture studio, a screening room, collaboration spaces, a back lot, an equipment room with cameras, lights, mics, and grip equipment, and a lot more.  The best part is it's all available for free to qualified YouTube partners.  If you’re in the LA area, you should find out more information if you want to reserve some free time there to work on your own projects.

VYou Added Features

While VYou is not a new service, they have recently implemented new features that could be useful for those of us that are trying to engage our audiences in new ways.  Now when you log in you can see your Twitter feed right there.  Instead of just tweeting back on normal 140 character text tweet, you can actually respond to their question with a video response.  A link will send them to watch your video at VYou.com.  If you're not familiar with the service, VYou lets your viewers ask you a lot of questions either by text or video, and then gives you the ability to individually respond to each and every question right there.  It's a great way to get a community of people involved answering and asking questions.

  • http://twitter.com/thepetersens hans j petersen

    Big networks are everything that you tube is not, home spun programming should be just that home sprung. most of us would agree that when the networks get involved the quirky personality that helps a YouTube show connect with an audience is bleed off' the rough edges are warn off to produce a homogenized package product.

    You might say that networks are the antithesis of what you tube is all about.

    you sell your soul to become rich and famous, keep your soul and put your heart in your show. good luck Ill be watching

  • http://www.facebook.com/MrThomasClark Thomas Clark

    Rightster are the 11th biggest network in the US (according to Comscore) and the largest news network in the Europe, all in under 8 months. Let me know if you'd like to know more.

  • http://twitter.com/broadbandtv BroadbandTV Corp

    Thanks for the informative article - BroadbandTV and our VISO and TGN networks consistently rank as the top 6 YouTube network. Let us know if you want to find out more.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      Would love to know more ;-) BTW, not sure how I missed TGN so added that to the post ;-)