Is MCN a Dirty Word?

By Olivier Delfosse

Whoever came up with the term “multi-channel network” isn’t winning any awards for creativity in marketing. It ranks up there with the uninspired “infotainment,” and its one knork short of being malvertising (three portmanteaus in one sentence!).

In fact, MCN is such a literal definition of a business that when I try to explain to people what I do I find myself spending at least one or two minutes extricating myself from the confines of the business definition. It is simply inaccurate to say that our business is aggregating a network of a YouTube channels that make money off advertising. More accurately, we are the media and marketing solutions of the future.

In late April and early May, hoards of agency executives, brand managers, heads of innovation, and general digital

Digital Content Newfronts

enthusiasts will descend into New York for the annual Digital Content NewFronts. Everyone will congregate to eat, drink, and see the newest content and technology offerings from a wide variety of old and young companies.

StyleHaul is the world’s largest multi-platform content marketing solution for global fashion and beauty brands, with a leading community of more than 5,000 YouTube and social media fashion, beauty, and lifestyle creators. May 5 marks our first NewFronts presentation — an important milestone. Clients — old and new — will be introduced to our most exciting content projects, while also getting a peek into the new directions for our business — ones we feel will solve some of the most important business challenges our partners are facing today. But, what sets our content above the rest?

StyleHaul distinguishes itself from traditional media platforms by strategically developing content that the market wants to engage with — producing it with the highest quality partners and standards — and then engineering its success through targeted and successful distribution. We often talk about content “being released in a vacuum,” and we work diligently to avoid this common trap. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people throw out ideas for shows without even asking the question, “Why?” or, “How will you get people to see it?”

Each content venture we embark upon is carefully selected based on data, a unique knowledge of an ever-changing ecosystem, and then distributed with a very carefully crafted distribution plan that leverages our community of influencers. We represent the mouth, the megaphone, and the ears on the other side.

Companies like StyleHaul are in a unique position to do this — the creators we work with have a much stronger and more authentic bond with their fans and viewers than a broadcaster with a viewer of their show. The one-on-one relationship between creator and viewer in the StyleHaul network (200M+ subscribers) has grown because the creators make the content viewers actually want to watch. They closely listen to their feedback — and in return our content has four times the engagement of any of our competitors. It is no surprise that when we develop StyleHaul premium content projects, and feature our most talented influencers, we lower the risk and maximize exposure.

This is not a knock at traditional programming. Big media makes amazing entertainment and there are still shows and magazines developed in that format that reach enormous audiences. However, the traditional model is content development, production, then distribution. Rinse, repeat. Get a big success to wash out all the other strikeouts. New media companies do not have this luxury, so the model has morphed. Production now also includes social content, and distribution includes social engineering. This is a skill set that has only been honed over the past two years and is, bluntly, a young person’s game. A 28-year-old has a much better idea of the type of the content they want to see, how they want to discover it, and what platform they want to consume it on than someone 10 years their senior. That is exactly why we employ so many bright millennials to help us understand the space and make educated content and marketing decisions.

So how does our content really differ from our competition? I would say it is not really the content itself, but rather a more comprehensive understanding of the levers required to calibrate its success. As Mary Kay Ash, a quintessential American businesswoman and the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc., so eloquently said, “Ideas are a dime a dozen; people who implement them are priceless.” StyleHaul has evolved from being an MCN to being a content and marketing company that truly understands that the success of content involves a lot more than just the kernel of the idea. We live it, we breathe it. And we have our talented and loyal creators and audience to thank for that.

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olivier delfosse stylehaul

Olivier Delfosse is the COO at StyleHaul, the largest women’s lifestyle network on YouTube, with more than 5,000 creators in-network and more than one billion views per month. In his role, Olivier leads the alignment and prioritization of company investments, ensures operational excellence and solidarity across each business unit, and drives the strategic roadmap for the company’s expansion into international markets, with Asia and Brazil as priorities. He also leads the partnership between StyleHaul and the companies within the RTL Group digital portfolio.

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