Netmums founder launches YouTube network Channel Mum
James R | On 28, Jan 2015
The founder of Netmums has launched a new YouTube network for British mothers.
The multi-channel network (MCN) is the brainchild of Siobhan Freegard, who co-founded Netmums back in 2000 before leaving the site last year. It aims to sign a roster of mummy vloggers to build a loyal audience of viewers, as well as strategic relationships with relevant brands.
“My kids don’t google questions anymore, they youtube them,” she writes in the site’s launch blog. “And for a while that’s how I thought it would be. YouTube for kids: Minecraft, makeup and funny cat videos. But the YouTube kids are growing up – and having babies. And the YouTube generation of mums have just as many questions as I did when I was a new mum: how do I get my baby to sleep when they think that day is night and night is day? Can I give Calpol AND Ibuprofen for a fever? Is it normal for my baby to cry this much? But more importantly, am I normal?! Why is this so scary? Does anyone else feel overwhelmed? Am I really good enough to be in charge of this tiny delicate, precious little baby?”
Freegard sees the millennial generation of mothers as the natural next step for online parental media.
“There are a huge number of new mums in this category,” she told the Guardian. “And at least the middle and younger of them are the YouTube generation, while the older ones are coming to it.”
For now, though, there are few YouTube videos aimed at them, let alone channels – or networks, where the big bucks can be found, through a group drive to raise awareness and attract followers and, more importantly, sponsored content. If the unboxing of toys can become one of the most successful channels on YouTube, what about cleaning products or baby toiletries.
“YouTube reminds me so much of the early days of Netmums, when the internet was first coming into our homes,” she added.
“To me, it was like a wild west, but now it’s all organised and feels mature, whereas on YouTube, you can still literally see the cowboys riding off to stake their claims.”
How do you assemble a team of vloggers?
The site has started with its own monthly index of the top 15 in the UK.
The Channel Mum Vlog 15 index ranks mum-focused YouTube creators not just in terms of engagement and views, but also the quality of engagement and their social footprint outside of YouTube.
After leading November’s table, December’s chart saw Anna Sacconne hold on to the number one spot, where she was joined by Sprinkle of Chatter‘s Louise Pentland.
“Within the overall 15 there’s a real mix of different interests and specialisms,” says Freegard, “including grocery hauls, cooking, kids & mum fashion, beauty and money-saving.”
Channel Mum hasn’t said which of the 15 it has signed up to join its MCU, although it will also be launching a competition with Panasonic to encourage mothers to try vlogging, which will be used for recruitment – a sign that Freegard is already thinking about sponsorship opportunities.
“We want to get people talking about real parenting: the honest, authentic face of parenting rather than the idealised ‘I’ve just been to Baby Gap, look at my haul!’ kind of videos,” she added in her interview with the Guardian.
“We’ll have the practical things mums want to know about, like sleep, food, breastfeeding and when you can give Calpol. But we’ll also have the emotional things around relationships with partners and whether you should work or not. I’d really love to draw out some of those stories.”