Machinima Attempts a Brand Reboot
Machinima is attempting a brand reboot. The company, which was once the biggest game in town in the land of YouTube multi-channel networks, is unveiling a few new initiatives to regain its former footing.
For instance, the company recently started referring to itself as a global “many2many programming service” for gamers and fanboys — instead of a multi-channel network for gamers and fanboys. It has also unveiled a new tagline, “Heroes Rise,” which supposedly reflects the passion and aspiration of that audience.
But those are purely cosmetic changes, and don’t address the fact that in addition to seeing numerous executives leave, Machinima was losing its once-robust audience size. Earlier this year, the company fell out of comScore’s top 10 among all measured YouTube networks.
Aware of this, Machinima boss Chad Gutstein has been focused on rebuilding the network since being installed as CEO. In the past seven months, Machinima’s network has grown from 12,000 creators to 30,000, according to The Wall Street Journal. Based on other numbers provided by Machinima, the network now reaches more than 400 million subscribers across the globe, pulling in 3 billion views per month. In the US, it boasts 9 million unique views among 13- to 34-year-old males.
Machinima has had a large network before, though. But previously, there wasn’t much of a relationship between the company and the talent beyond ad sales. It will be different going forward, Machinima says.
The company is unveiling a new talent program which breaks its network down into three groups — based on size of audience — and gives each group various tools and resources as well as the ability to upgrade to the next level.
In the “Level Up Talent Program” (obviously), the top level is called “M-Black.” An invite-only designation, M-Black creators receive one-on-one support from Machinima’s talent relations staff, access to its content development and production team, “brand activation opportunities, special events,” and other services provided to the lower levels.
Following M-Black members are those in “M-Red.” Also invite only, this level is for talent that has established “a solid following and has demonstrated a strong potential to grow,” according to Machinima. Members will receive advanced analytics and online tools, programming training, and some brand opportunities.
“M-White” is reserved for small-time creators. The entry level offers basic support, analytics, and access to various do-it-yourself YouTube tools.
One such tool is Machinima’s new “Console” talent management system, a technology that will be available to all network creators. Similar to creator-centric tools from other MCNs such as Fullscreen and Maker Studios, Console will offer Machinima talent access to tools and information ranging from earnings reports to analytics and social support.
Console will be accessible via the new Machinima.com, which has been refurbished to serve as an information hub for creators and advertisers seeking to learn more about the company and its network.
For advertisers, Machinima is now also offering access to a research panel comprised of 10,000 viewers across its network. This panel will allow Machinima and its ad partners to assess audience preferences via continually tracked responses and profile data. Advertisers will also be able to gather more brand-centric information by initiating surveys.
The overall goal, with the new tagline, creator services, and advertiser services, is to reposition Machinima as a company that’s back on an upward track. But the core aspects of the rebrand — the tools and services for talent and advertisers — are already offered by other MCNs in the space.
So what sets Machinima apart? The fact that it’s focused on one vertical (which might serve it well considering recent interest and investments in companies like Tastemade, StyleHaul, and Whistle Sports)? That’s always been the case.
What’s different now is that Machinima has a network and operational infrastructure in place to follow the path that a few of its competitors have already followed to success. Only time will tell if it will work out in the same way for Gutstein and company.Tags: Chad Gutstein, comscore, console, gaming, heroes rise, level up talent program, m-black, Machinima, MCNs, programming service, youtube