By Sahil Patel
During the summer, there was chatter (led in part by us) about Maker Studios developing an off-YouTube strategy with a private, owned-and-operated video player at the center. Maker eventually shelved those plans in favor of simply going out and buying an existing player technology in the form of Blip. Buying Blip and its player technology meant that Maker Studios would be able to develop premium destinations for its major content creators, and in doing so collect all of the revenue generated from ads on those sites, instead of having to split it with YouTube.
Well, that strategy is now coming into fruition. Maker Studios has launched websites for its gaming network Polaris as well as for one of the top creators on its platform, Epic Rap Battles of History. The sites feature videos (using the Blip player), forums, and merchandise — complete, branded platforms, optimized for web and mobile. The network says it plans to roll out more sites for other creators in the future.
Update: Because we apparently need to make it absolutely clear, this is not an instance of Maker Studios launching some sort of competitor to YouTube. As Kreiz himself has said before (along with other MCNs), Maker Studios has no intention of leaving YouTube — that would be stupid. But as these MCN businesses grow, it makes sense for them to have a presence away from the world’s biggest video site. If the name of the game is to have a scalable business, it helps if your network can reach large audiences on multiple platforms and devices.
Also, as announced by Maker Studios executive chairman Ynon Kreiz earlier this week, Maker Studios is launching Maker Max, a new platform designed to help creators manage their channels and grow audiences on YouTube. Developed in-house by Maker’s engineering team, Maker Max features include (via the announcement):
A revamped dashboard presenting dozens of cross-platform statistics on views, subscribers, time spent watching videos and traffic in one interface. These actionable channel insights will help talent understand who and where their audience is and how their content performs on platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others.
Forums where talent can find the latest news, connect with Maker’s global community and engage with fellow content creators to collaborate on new content.
Maker’s Talent Referral program, which allows content creators to earn commissions for successfully bringing content creators into the Maker network.
A best-of-breed support system that provides fast answers to common questions, access to Maker’s large knowledge base and in-depth personalized help from Maker’s support specialists, as well as real-time access to royalty statements.
“Creators will use Maker Max to drive programming and marketing decisions, lower the cost of user acquisition, drive tune-in, and grow their business,” said Kreiz in a statement.