Universal Music Group is in the planning stages of establishing its own online music video portal—similar to NBC’s Hulu video streaming site, Billboard.biz has learned.
According to sources with knowledge of UMG’s plans, the service would host not only music videos, but also a variety of other programming, such as artist-focused content and editorial. Content from other labels and content partners is also welcome, sources say, and UMG would likely partner with a “leading media company” to manage the site.
The venture is not expected to have any affect on UMG’s licensing relationships with YouTube, which is set to expire at the end of the year, or any other online source hosting the label’s music videos. Instead, it is an effort to produce and syndicate higher-quality premium content than is available from other sources in an attempt to bring in more advertising dollars.
UMG’s music video channel is the most popular on YouTube, having streamed more than 2.6 billion videos over the last year. UMG historically has been very aggressive on issues regarding music videos online. It was the first label to insist that websites provide compensation for streaming its music videos. Previously, music videos were licensed freely to all who wanted them, as they were considered a promotional vehicle more than a profit center.