“It will help differentiate us from YouTube, create more engagement with our users and help us expand over the top.”
That’s how Rio Caraeff, CEO of Vevo, summarized Vevo TV, a new multi-platform programming initiative announced at South By Southwest on Tuesday now available on the web, Apple iOS, Android, Windows phones, Xbox and Roku. The initiative is a 24-hour linear live music and entertainment channel that will feature a continuous programming schedule of music videos, live events and original programming like CBS’ “Live On Letterman,” American Express’ “Unstaged” and Vevo’s own “Music Is My Sport.” State Farm, McDonald’s, Adidas Originals and Red Bull are the launch sponsors.
It’s the ad model in particular that will help Vevo better monetize its music videos and related content, as ads will follow Vevo TV across all its platform via 30-second “mid-roll” ads that will appear after every three videos, through Vevo’s partnership with ad-tech company Freewheel. “Each hour is a new block of programming, and allows for sponsored programming blocks,” added Michael Cerda, Vevo’s senior VP of product and technology.
With the YouTube platform, music videos are currently monetized on mobile and TV-based devices through Google’s Trueview platform, which gives users the option skip an ad after 5 seconds. If users select the latter option, the video isn’t monetized. The Vevo TV ad model, however, is one that could soon gain traction as other content providers struggle with bundling their ad offerings and monetizing their views across all platforms. This is particularly crucial to Vevo’s relationship with the music industry, as it’s widely viewed as one of the largest providers of digital revenue to the record labels (http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1082900/vevo-weve-paid-artists-200-million-since-2009), if not the biggest.
The Vevo TV programming is also a continuous feed that users can click in and out of, much like a cable channel. “There’s no algorithms allowed,” said Doug McVehil, Vevo’s senior VP of talent and operations. “When you tune in, you might see the latest video form Rihanna, might see a classic live performance from Kayne West here at South By Southwest or you might see that 11-minute ‘November Rain’ video you haven’t seen in 100 years. We’re coming up with ideas to keep you guessing and keep you entertained.”