Vevo Unveils Major Redesign, Content Strategy; Taps Drewski, Lizzy Plapinger, YesJulz as Hosts

Robert Marquardt/Getty Images
Erik Huggers attends a conference on Mobile Entertainment and Lifestyle: The Future of Media on Mobile at the 2010 Mobile World Congress on Feb. 17, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. 

CEO Erik Huggers reboots the video platform a year into his new job.

Vevo, the video platform founded in 2009 by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, today unveiled a number of major changes that include a redesign, original content, revamped music discovery and new music hosts towards creating a more "social, personalized and immersive" user experience.

Divided into three distinct categories, the "reboot" will impact three distinct areas: brand; creative content and programming; and product. The new features will include a redesigned Vevo logo and interfaces, new user profiles with social components and a personalized video player offering recommendations.

Vevo's New CEO Erik Huggers on the Future of Web Video:
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The new host crew includes Drewski, a "hip-hop influencer" who works for New York's Hot 97 who also has affiliations with BET, VH1, MTV; Lizzy Plapinger, singer for the band MS MR (signed to Columbia) and co-head of Neon Gold records; and YesJulz, a.k.a. the "Director of Vibes" and who has used Snapchat to go from "Miami’s social scene to the mainstream."

The revamped programming includes, “dscvr," which will have a new look and feel and showcase new musicians with exclusive performances, interviews;  ":60 With," a quick hit Q&A with artists; "LIFT," which continues to connect rising stars with audiences and a mix of live performances and short films; "Vevo Presents,"  a performance series in unique settings around the world; "Rhyme & Reason," featuring MCs explaining the inspiration behind the lyrics; and "Hot This Week," putting the spotlight on new releases."

In addition to hosts, a new feature called "Vevo Curators" enlists a number of varied music personalities, including former MTV jock Matt Pinfield, hip-hop tastemaker, Brian “B. Dot” Miller, and metal icon, Jamey Jasta who will spotlight different music video playlists. Vevo has also announced a major new distribution partnership with The Fader will include documentaries, collaborative short films, and artist franchises entitled “Everything You Need to Know” and “The Slang Show."

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The major revamp comes as Erik Huggers, VEVO president and CEO, recently completed his first year on the job following a vacancy left by former CEO Rio Caraeff who left after nearly six years there. As recently as 2014, Vevo, which Abu Dhabi Media and Alpha/Google also have ownership stakes in, was up for sale. Led by Goldman Sachs in partnership with the Raine Group, the platform was unable to come to terms with prospective buyers which reportedly included DreamWorks, the Chernin Group, Guggenheim Partners (former parent of Billboard), AT&T, Verizon to Yahoo and Amazon. With Vevo's economic model dependent on outside licensing deals -- much like Hulu --the platform's value has been in dispute.

Vevo's new features, especially original programming and personalized features, may increase is value. The platform now claims 18 billion monthly users globally with mobile accounting for over 50% of those views.  Viewer growth in the U.S. over the last year has grown 51 pervent, to 900MM hours in the first 6 months of 2016--an increase of 300MM hours year-over-year.