Vevo has opened for business in Australia and New Zealand.
The on-demand music service launched here Monday, through a partnership with locally-based MCM Media, a leading producer of entertainment content for radio, digital, TV and events.
It's just the third regional operation for Vevo, a joint-venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment which arrived July 2009 in the United States and Canada, and entered the U.K. and Ireland in April 2011.
Monday's launch means Australian consumers have access to some 45,000 music videos which can be streamed online at Vevo.com and through free mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7. Vevo on Xbox will be available by the end of the month.
Australians' appetite for music, the country's maturing digital market and finding a strong partner on the ground were the foundations for the digital music firm's decision to set-up Down Under, according to Nic Jones, the exec tasked with rolling-out Vevo globally.
In March alone, explains Jones, Australians streamed some 41 million videos on Vevo through the YouTube platform. And during that time, some 5.5 million unique users were streaming those clips. They're pretty healthy figures when matched against Australia's 22 million population.
"Australia bats above its weight in terms of the population size and the number of video its watching. It's a fabulous market," Jones, Vevo's London-based senior VP of international, tells Billboard.biz.
Australian artists will "feature prominently" throughout the site, according to the company. At launch, the homepage of Vevo's Australasian service features promos for Australian pop singer Delta Goodrem and New Zealand alternative pop group The Naked & Famous alongside a slew of internationals.
"It's not good enough to launch a business over here which has Americans or Brits deciding what's right for the Australian market," Jones adds. "It's very important that we have local programming and local ad sales here."
Vevo is staying mum on its branding partnerships, though Jones suggests one of its bigger advertisers will make an announcement in the coming weeks.
Through the exclusive arrangement, MCM provides a sales team and back office services, while Vevo will embed local producers and programmers. "It's a close partnership and a model we'll probably roll out in other markets if I can find other partners as good as MCM," notes Jones. MCM operates the likes of Take40.com and thehothits.com, which combined account for an estimated seven million monthly streams.
"Australian audiences now have video access to their favorite artist like never before," comments MCM Media's CEO Simon Joyce in a statement.
Vevo arrives in a market which has turned into a hotbed for digital music enterprises, with the likes of Spotify, Songl, Deezer and MOG all due to launch in the coming months, while JB Hi Fi's "Now," Rdio and RaRa are new on the scene.
A full consumer launch for the Australasian Vevo will come later in the year.