Billboard Latin Music Conference: Viva for VEVO Panel Addresses the Nascent Company's Growth

Gustavo Lopez, EVP, Brand Partnerships & Digital, EMLE (left) and Doug McVehil, SVP, Music Programming, Talent & Content Operations, VEVO at the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards (Arnold Turner)

Panel:
"Viva for VEVO" – Maximizing your presence and revenue in the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform.

Moderator:
Bill Werde, editorial director, Billboard

Speakers:
Gustavo Lopez, EVP, Brand Partnerships & Digital, Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Doug McVehil, SVP, Music Programming, Talent & Content Operations, VEVO

Surf YouTube for music videos long enough, and you'll eventually wind up watching a clip powered by VEVO. But the streaming music video service isn't just branding within YouTube -- it's a rapidly expanding platform that stands on its own. Wednesday afternoon at the Billboard Latin Music Conference featured VEVO's SVP, Music Programming, Talent & Content Operations Doug McVehil. He joined Gus Lopez, executive vice present for brand partnerships, business development, and digital at UMLE, to discuss the service's growth in a panel titled "Viva For VEVO." (The third originally scheduled panelist, Don Omar, had to sit out due to illness.)

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VEVO exists in multiple places -- yes, it offers branded and curated music video content within YouTube, but it also boasts its own platform on the web, mobile apps, and web-connected TV devices like Roku. According to McVehil, it's now the number-one music video platform in the world, streaming more than four billion videos a month across the globe. Of all those views, he said, 20 percent come from a Latin audience, and 25 percent of the views are of Latin artists.

Three-year-old VEVO works by licensing music video content from nearly all of the major label groups -- Warner Bros. is the one big exception -- and some of the biggest indies. For artists and labels, it offers an attractive revenue share stream garnered through pre-video ads and other sponsorship impressions. (All of this, McVehil noted, adds up to much more than what an artist might earn through independently uploading a video to YouTube.)

But through its various platforms VEVO also, importantly, takes an editorial approach to music video selection. "[We make] sure these videos are presented in a curated, editorially contextualized way," McVehil said, "so viewers are more likely to click on them and discover a new artist or a new video."

That's especially attractive to labels aiming for a Latin audience, Lopez said. "Our music is so fragmented, in the sense that there are so many genres," he said. VEVO, he said, is the one place where fans can move through them all in a way that makes sense and still lead to new styles and artists.

VEVO's aim reaches much wider than just delivering individual views of videos online. Recently, the company launched VEVO TV, a new, 24-hour music video "channel," of sorts, that currently plays curated videos all day on the web and through web-connected TVs. This arose in response to user feedback, McVehil said.

"Users don't aways want to sit, type in a search term, watch a video, click on another video, and so on. Sometimes users want a more television-like experience where others are curating video for them," he said. As such, VEVO TV now steps in to fill the old-style MTV void, offering blocks of programming devoted to various genres -- including Latin music -- as well as eight hours a day devoted to video "shuffle," top hits. Of those, at least one to two every hour come from Latin artists, McVehil said.

McVehil and his colleagues plan to grow VEVO TV into additional platforms, as well as expand its content into original programming beyond videos, like shows that look at style and sports through a music lens. "Music is really one of the only things interwoven into every part of culture and our lives," McVehil said. "We want to highlight those connections between music and the rest of our lifestyles."