Boom Video: Bringing Multi-Channel Networks to Australia and Beyond

/ Nov 29, 2013


When looking at Boom Video’s roots, it’s easy to see how the Australian MCN eventually found its way to YouTube. Kicking off as a video-seeding company, Boom specialized in getting advertisers’ videos shared and watched across the web via social media influencers on every platform. Beyond YouTube, Boom’s social media network alone is enough to make any advertiser’s ears perk up. The company’s roster of influencers reaches 349 blogs, 1.8 million Twitter fans, and 2.2 million Facebook fans. Boom has a lot of experience when it comes to reaching online audiences on behalf of brands, so YouTube was sort of a no brainer.

“It was a natural gravitation towards YouTube because most of the videos that advertisers want to share are sitting on YouTube,” said Jamie Crick, client services director at Boom Video. Crick works with brands and content creators on developing partnerships for the MCN, which currently represents 480 partners across YouTube. Launching as Australia’s first MCN, Boom Video works primarily with native creators as well as talent from neighbor New Zealand.

If you’ve watched YouTube lately, then you’ve probably noticed that Aussie creators are beginning to make their mark on the platform. One such creator is Troye Sivan, an 18-year-old bonafide YouTube sensation. Sivan, with over 1 million subscribers on YouTube, is easily one of YouTube’s top Australian actors. He’s also one of Boom Video’s most successful partners.

Like any smart MCN, Boom Video has placed a strong emphasis on developing subtle, talent-laced content. In “The Fault in Our Stars: Revisited,” Sivan visits a children’s hospital as a volunteer for Optus Rockcorps, the youth volunteer branch of Optus, Australia’s second largest telecommunications provider. Since being uploaded at the start of November, the video has been viewed over 380,000 times.

“As a video-seeding network before we were an MCN, we’ve always worked with influencers and video,” said Crick. “At the very start it was about taking the advertising content and finding the right source for spreading that content.” While finding the source was perfectly suited for Boom’s wheelhouse, the actual creation of content was slightly more difficult. By starting the MCN, Boom was able to have access to a wealth of creators, who could work with brands on creating videos. “The fact that we have around 500 creators means that we pretty much always have the right talent for the brand,” says Crick.

But branded content on YouTube can be tricky. Users are becoming more savvy when it comes to recognizing ads disguised as creator uploads. Online especially, the line between subtle content and over-branding is razor thin. For Boom, that line widens as soon as brands understand the delicate nature of online advertising. “It’s really about educating brands and agencies about social video and that they have to be somewhat subtle in how they create content,” explains Crick. That education can be seen in a number of Boom Video’s partnered brand videos. Aside from Sivan’s Optus collaboration, Boom Video partners have worked with major names like Disney, Schick, and Paramount Pictures.

A massive roster of talent and brands looking to make content is great, but what about the actual production of said videos? If Boom Video is setting brands up with talent, those brands are going to want a guarantee that the content they are paying for is top notch. Thus, Boom Natives, the production branch of Boom Video, was born.

Looking to meet that need for in-house production, Boom Video launched Boom Natives as the first Australian production studio to help brands connect with online influencers. The studio also serves as a production location for Boom Video partners. The branch is led by Charlie Leahy, a creative director who previously served as head of content for Ensemble Branded Entertainment. Leading the charge into Boom Video’s creative efforts, Leahy has worked on dozens of branded content projects with Australian and UK brands, including Zodiak Media, Endemol, and British Sky Broadcasting.

“It’s just about bringing the right people into the business,” says Crick when speaking about Leahy and the Boom Natives team. Starting as a video-seeding company, Boom Video had little experience on the creative end of branded content. “With the production capabilities we have, we are able to make a lot of that content ourselves and use the talent within it,” explains Crick. Of course, with many of Boom Video’s partners being musicians on YouTube, the MCN also needed to handle licensing to avoid any copyright infringement issues. Fullscreen, a US-based MCN, recently found itself in court after a group of music publishers sued the network for allowing its talent to monetize cover songs without permission. The entire legal debacle has shone a spotlight on fair usage laws, which are often murky online.

Looking to avoid anything similar, Boom Video recently locked down a deal with AMCOS, an Australian music rights organization that makes sure musicians anywhere receive compensation if their songs are monetized by another creator. The partnership allows Boom Video partners to cover a lot of songs without fear of legal ramifications. It’s one of the first deals on YouTube that has fully established a clear relationship between music publishers and artists. It’s a partnership that many MCNs should be taking note of.

With roots in video seeding and advertising, Boom Video naturally does not see YouTube as the only outlet for its creators. In fact, Crick explained that Boom Video is committed to expanding its business across the web as a whole. “We obviously work very closely with YouTube, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for us. As I say, we’ve been a social video business before MCNs were around and so we have a business that is broader than just YouTube,” he explained. For Boom Video, YouTube is simply the platform where its creators have the largest audiences. That could change, however, and Boom Video will certainly be around for that. “We are about finding audiences wherever it makes the most sense for our creators,” says Crick.

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