The CBC’s plan to integrate YouTubers

Execs from the pubcaster and Fullscreen on brand integrations, the need for more French creators and adding content to TV.

“Evolve or die.” That was Mary Kreuk, executive director, multiplatform media solutions for CBC/Radio-Canada on why the CBC has signed a deal with one of the world’s biggest MCNs, Fullscreen, to create the CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network.

At launch, Fullscreen’s 2,000 Canadian content creators immediately add 16.1 million unique visitors a month, with 5.2 million being millennials, to the CBC’s arsenal.

Kreuk presented the partnership to a crowd of agency and brand clients on Wednesday morning at the CBC’s headquarters in Toronto. Also with her were Richard Kanee, head of digital at the CBC, Michael Wann, CRO, Fullscreen and Christian Collins AKA Weekly Chris, a YouTuber with 1.6 million subscribers and millions more on Snapchat, Instagram and other social networks.

To show-off the power of his influence, Kreuk showed a photo of Weekly Chris posing in front of a Scion (one of the launch partners for the Fullscreen deal) that had received over 109,000 likes in less than 10 hours.

Though the CBC was already at 13 million unique views a month on its digital channels, with 34% of those clicks coming from millennials, a search for an MCN partner to bring creators into the pubcaster’s fold began last winter, says Kanee. He met Fullscreen’s president Ezra Cooperstein at last year’s YouTube-focused Buffer Festival in Toronto.

Creator content that comes from the deal has the potential to move from the digital screen to broadcast, says Kanee, noting the CBC team is looking at ways to integrate the personalities into the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games. Kreuk notes it’s still early days, but adds the vision for the partnership is to take it multi-platform.

Selling quietly in market for the past few months yielded launch deals with Scion, as well as 20th Century Fox, Wolf Blass and the TD Kids Books Club.

Past U.S. deals for Fullscreen have included pairing creator Devin SuperTramp with Speed Stick for a zipline stunt, Jack and Jack and Andrea Russett with Pizza Hut to create new pizza topping combinations for fans and Mondelez for a custom video series with Sour Patch Kids.

Canadian Fullscreen sales will be led by the CBC, with director of digital sales Heather Gordon at the head of the team.

Wann says that while clients always ask him about the top creators (Weekly Chris and Unbox Therapy are two of them in Canada), the best brand partnerships come from pairing the right personality with the right brand. He adds that millennial interest in all things new and niche means small businesses are also potential partners for the CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network.

The CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network is looking to grow its number of creators in Quebec. Due to language differences and a lack of cultivation in the market, that market has not yet been accessed fully, says Wann.

Weekly Chris’s advice to potential brands working with him is to let the creator have control over the content because they know what works best.

“Partnerships work best when it’s for a product that you already use, or its something that could provide a special experience for fans.”

Image (left to right): MC Jessi Cruickshank, Mary Kreuk, Michael Wann, Weekly Chris and Richard Kanee at the launch event for the CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network