Vevo: The Numbers Behind Two Years of Growth
Vevo: The Numbers Behind Two Years of Growth

The Numbers Behind Vevo's Growth
-- Free, ad-supported videos are one of the few truly bright spots in digital music right now. YouTube has become a dominating force in listening, viewing and discovery. Vevo, the Universal Music Group/Sony Music joint venture, is trying to turn online music video into big business. And it seems to be off to a good start, in part because its videos are also showed at YouTube.

Check out the numbers behind the growth of online video service Vevo that were revealed at last week's Canadian Music Week conference, and relayed by Twitter feed of Forrester analyst Mark Mulligan and various media reports. Here are the highlights of the reported numbers with some additional analysis:

- Vevo now delivers 350 million streams per month in the U.S. and 750 million streams per month globally.

- Vevo has four million app users (mobile and tablet) streaming 720,000 hours per month. That's a pretty small average, though -- just 10.8 minutes per app user per month. And 720,000 hours from mobile is pretty small, too. Assuming each stream lasts two minutes (the average length of a video in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to TubeMogul), Vevo's 350 million monthly streams last 700 million minutes. In that scenario, mobile would account for just 0.1% of video hours streamed per month (720,000 divided by 700 million). Even if each music video stream lasted only 30 seconds, mobile's share of streaming hours would go up to just 0.4%.

- Vevo is up to 56 million unique visitors in 2011. That figure was actually 56.1 million unique visitors in January 2011, according to comScore, and it made Vevo the 18th most visited U.S. Web property.

- Vevo had 2.2 billion streams from January 2010 to January 2011. Most of those streams -- 90% is the figure Vevo has previously given -- are coming from YouTube. If that's the case, 1.98 of those 2.2 billion views came from YouTube (90% of 2.2 billion).

YouTube Tops In Unique Visitors In February
-- On a related note, Nielsen released on Monday some U.S. online video stats for February 2011. YouTube was tops in unique viewers with 108 million and Vevo was second with 32.3 million. And even though February is a short month, Vevo had 0.2% more unique viewers than in the 31-day month of January. Right behind Vevo was Facebook at No. 3 with 31.7 million unique viewers.

In terms of total streams, Nielsen has YouTube at 7.54 billion in February. Hulu is No. 2 with 826.5 million and Vevo is No. 3 with 317.8 million.

Netflix was tops in total hours viewed, however, with an average of nine hours and 16 minutes. YouTube was 7th with 2:14, while Vevo did not make the top 10.

Nielsen: 11% of U.S. Men and Women Bought Music Online In Past Month
-- 11% of U.S. men and women have purchased music online in the last 30 days, according to Nielsen (only consumers 18 or over were part of the survey). The purchases could have been either digital or physical (from an online retailer like Amazon). But considering the differences in online physical and digital sales, it's safe to say more people are buying digital than physical. Digital album sales are nearly four times as great as Internet/mail order album sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and well over 20 million individual tracks are sold each week.

To put those numbers in perspective, Nielsen offers some other information on other product categories broken down by sex. For example, in the last 30 days 11% of women purchased cosmetics online, 10% engaged in an online auction, 12% made hotel reservations online and 18% purchased a book online. The top category for women was clothing, shoes or accessories -- 29% have purchased online in the last 30 days. Men were more likely than women to engage in an online auction (13% to 10%) and buy computer hardware (10% to 4%).

An Interesting Study on Mobile News Consumers
-- Here's something that's somewhat relevant to music subscriptions: 30% of mobile news consumers would be willing to pay $5 per month to read their local papers (here comes the important part) if that was the only way to access the content. Of all adults surveyed, 23% would pay $5 per month. Raise the price to $10 per month and interest falls to 18% for all adults and 21% for mobile phone consumers.

While the survey results could be interpreted in a positive light ("Hey, people will pay for mobile content!") there's a huge asterisk here that cannot be ignored. There simply is not a scenario in which news can be found in only one place. News is everywhere. Because there is no scarcity, consumer interest in a hypothetical $5 or $10 mobile subscription plan doesn't jibe with the realities of the marketplace. The same goes for subscription music. Those services need to provide a lot of value because there is an abundance of free alternatives.