Big Frame, the multi-channel YouTube network representing such big names as DeStorm and MysteryGuitarMan, has released a blog post issuing a “challenge” to other multi-channel networks. The challenge implores networks to stop signing talent to restrictive deals and offer signed channels tangible benefits beyond added views. ” Recently, we have been concerned that the focus on the views horse race by some YouTube networks is damaging the entire YouTube ecosystem,” said Big Frame execs Steve Raymond and Sarah Penna, who co-authored the post, “Some of the symptoms of the damage are being made very public, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.”
The post is an obvious response to the recent, highly-public beef between YouTube’s top creator, Ray William Johnson, and its top independent network, Maker Studios. Together with other recent instances of creator/network strife (such as Toby Turner’s firing from CuteWinFail), the RWJ/Maker feud has caused other networks to remind their clientele of the utility provided by a distribution deal. Fullscreen has propped up its lesser known creators with monthly funding rounds, Machinima has championed its favorite videos at a recent film festival, and now Big Frame is speaking out as well.
One development caused by the recent creator/network ‘war’ is a strong anti-network sentiment building up within the creative community. If you wander over to RWJ’s guest piece on NewMediaRockstars, you’ll find a lot of comments from RWJ’s fans telling him he was better before he signed on with a network, and RWJ’s own language (“I hope that this story will make anyone in the Youtube community think twice about signing their Adsense over to a Youtube network or third party”) implies he feels similarly. Thus, the post from Big Frame hopes to re-establish why YouTube networks are necessary and challenge said networks to be more dynamic and less hollow.
Will Big Frame draw channels away from Maker with its Google-esque ‘Don’t be evil‘ soapbox speech? Maybe not, but they can at least assure their clients that while many networks may be out to suck their clients dry, others are still working hard to better the online video experience for all parties.