As more Americans turn to connected TVs and digital for video entertainment, music video service Vevo is achieving record viewership. Audiences are drawn to Vevo's unprecedented collection of music videos and roster of celebrities. Now, with an expanding distribution business and growing advertiser interest, Vevo is poised to move up even higher in the charts.
In recent months, the network has signed deals with several key distributors and was most recently made available on Comcast's Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex. Vevo is also going to the source, inking deals with TV manufacturers, including Vizio, to ensure it is baked into new units. Other new partners include streaming services such as XUMO and Redbox, as well as third-party apps Vewd, Foxxum, and NetRange, which are integrated into some brands of smart TVs. These new partnerships build on existing deals with key players, including Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Apple TV, Pluto TV, Fire TV, YouTube, Sky Q and Virgin Media.
As more users find Vevo, they're hooked. In the U.S. Vevo now attracts about 60 million connected TV users per month, and in 2020 its audience grew 37 percent compared to the year before. With its programming now reaching two-thirds of adults 18 to 49 years old -- a key advertising demographic -- Rob Christensen, Vevo's vice president of advanced TV sales and distribution, says Vevo is ready to step up its game.
"This is a big opportunity for us to make sure we're organizing our distribution and ad market efforts to get music videos back in the living room," he said.
While Vevo users' choice of devices to watch videos are based on situational factors, the network is intent on growing its in-home viewing, including viewing on living room TVs. That's where Christensen said families are gathering to find programming, and audiences are exploring all the new streaming options on their smart TVs. Each time Vevo adds a new distribution partner, it sees a bump in usage, he said.
"We were up already 40% year over a year for two years in a row inside the living room and we're going to blow right past that, with the living room being about 30% of our overall viewership," he noted.
"We need to ensure our content has a number of different entry points, regardless of where fans are watching," added Christensen.
With COVID-19 concerns, Americans have been spending more time at home and seeking family-friendly, positive video entertainment. That's helping drive sampling and co-viewing. Vevo's music video library, which includes more than 500,000 videos, offers a safe haven and inspiration, Christensen said. It showcases music videos from the most popular genres, including world premieres of new videos.
Although not fully integrated across all partners right now, the next frontier is taking advantage of connected TV's capabilities, Christensen said. For example, if a viewer is watching Vevo on a smart TV, its algorithms can suggest and serve up other content - that's a way to extend time spent viewing, benefitting Vevo and its ad partners. These goals are to develop a holistic and more intuitive experience for consumers.
Vevo works with each individual distribution partner to refine its service. "It is important to get a really good handle on audiences' insights and interest," Christensen said. Armed with that information, "You can program accordingly, review and optimize as you go," he added.
Based on feedback from Pluto TV, for instance, Vevo launched a 70s-themed channel with videos and live performances, and added an 80s channel on XUMO. For linear customers, Vevo expanded its genres offerings to pop, R & B, hip hop, country and Latino-themed channels. "We're innovating by partner, rather than just offering them all the same thing," Christensen said.
On connected TVs, Vevo can also lean on its algorithm to suggest other videos and channels that its users might like. Christensen calls it addressable programming, where technology allows Vevo to deliver relevant content to a platform's users, rather than a singular program schedule as with traditional linear TV.
When programmers create a "one-to-one" experience, to complement TV's traditional "one-to-many" model, it deepens the viewers' engagement and extends their time spent viewing. Those are key metrics for advertisers and media buyers. So, as Vevo looks to grow its revenue and increase its share on media plans, Christensen is emphasizing those personalized experiences. For brands large and small, local to international, Vevo's content holds strong appeal. Since last spring, its music videos have been comfort food for many consumers, and the videos and performances offer escapism and entertainment. Vevo showcases the biggest stars currently topping the charts, as well as older fan favorites.
Christensen concludes, "Music videos and just the art form of music, have proven they can be always on, never postponed, and never canceled. Our content is rocksteady in that way."
Photo courtesy of Vevo.
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