The Arts Council is looking for an experienced provider for a new multi-channel network (MCN) for the arts.

Up to £1.8 million of National Lottery funding is available for this work, which should be undertaken between October 2014 and March 2018.  

Please download the guidance (Word / PDF) for more details and how to apply.

The programme is one of the commissioned grants in our strategic funding programme supporting our Creative media policy.

About the Multi-channel network for the arts grant

Multi-channel Networks (MCNs) are aggregations of large numbers of YouTube channels run by independent third party companies. 

These networks and channels are proving highly successful in other lifestyle areas such as food, sport, fashion and comedy. But the exponential growth of online video across the arts and commercial entertainment sector has not, to date, been seen in the publically funded arts sector, either in volume, quality of content, hours viewed or audiences reached.

We see this grant as an opportunity to provide new routes into the arts for audiences;  driving viewers to existing arts channels, creating new destinations and communities of interest that make content more discoverable, and producing new content.

Consulting with the arts and culture sector

Earlier this year, we sought arts sector views on the potential of this programme bringing together a roundtable of independent artists, and arts organisations of varying scales.

The group discussed some of the opportunities and challenges of digital content production and distribution, skills and sector collaboration, the value of YouTube and aggregators for audiences and the arts sector and the potential benefits an MCN proposition could bring to the arts.  Their feedback was positive.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the comments made:

'The number one thing is exposure and discoverability. We need the great content but the challenge is the audience. For me the MCN benefit lies in their specialism in driving audiences.'

'...an aggregator and distributor who could design propositions and tailor offerings to specific audiences it is interesting. It could help us step out of our niche audiences.'

'We must make sure we represent the thousands of independent artists creating great work who could benefit from bigger audiences. The great thing about YouTube is that the good stuff can rise to the top, so we need to make sure there are channels there to allow independent artists to rise.'

'Shared research and data, analytics, monetisation expertise and commercial models – all this is interesting to us if we can retain our own brand and identity.'

Begin an online application for this grant