Music videos began airing first on cable TV in 1981, eventually becoming a driving force in popular culture and delivering some of the larger cable audiences. With the help of music videos' popularity, multichannel pay-TV services driven by cable would go on to demonstrate tremendous power for marketers trying to reach meaningful audiences and build brands through the first decade of the 21st century. They became a natural complement to broadcast TV and would eventually become a foundational component of media plans. Music videos were important to the growth of cable and pay-TV.
Music videos then started airing on YouTube in 2009, some of the first premium content to join the YouTube Revolution. They represent about two-thirds of the most popular videos ever surfaced on YouTube, building some of the largest audiences seeking out premium, culturally relevant on-demand content. With its unprecedented scale, YouTube has also become foundational for marketers looking to connect with consumers. Music videos have also been important to YouTube and viewing on-demand.
Today, Connected TV (CTV) has become the primary means of viewing digital video for many consumers. CTV audiences have soared, accounting for up to 70% or more of all viewing from many platforms like Hulu and Roku. Music videos are important to CTV too. Over a third of Vevo's ad supply is currently delivered via CTV, with a sizeable footprint across the largest AVOD players in the ecosystem and overall audiences that stand shoulder to shoulder, even dwarfing some of the longstanding giants of media. As cord-cutting behavior continues to progress, cord-never generations continue to emerge, and adoption of mainstream streaming behavior continues to fully expand, CTV, the interactivity it enables, and a fully converged video ecosystem realizes the opportunity to fully engage with consumers in the living room, the true hearth of the home.
In the next few years online video households will overtake traditional multichannel pay-TV households in the US. Unfavorable circumstances brought forth by stay-at-home orders have appreciably increased their challenges, setting the stage for an even larger decline in television subscriptions this year and onward. Subscriber losses to date will not hold a candle to what will happen in the next few years. While virtual skinnier bundles may offset declines somewhat, rising costs to the consumer will compound the lack of broad demand to challenge growth in online video-only homes.
While stay-at-home has somewhat floated TV's boat for the time being, programming challenges will soon offset the advantage before audience declines accelerate. Few if any shows are currently known to be in production for the fall season. To add insult to marketers, more than half of the viewing through platforms like Amazon and Roku is ad-free.
Sports is also extremely challenged. The NFL has had no shortage of issues to expedite its erosion, including the 2011 lockout, The RedZone channel, CTE, and political protests and boycotts around the Star-Spangled Banner. Now the health crisis has cancelled March Madness and threatens the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball. Even the Olympic Games have been postponed until at least 2021. The post-Millennial generation had in many ways already moved on from professional sports viewing and pay-TV, and this will further the potential erosion among younger viewers. A recent IAB survey cited over half its sample of media buyers have sports on their 2020 plans and among those that do, sports represent a quarter of their total budgets.
Music videos are not seasonal. They do not start anew each fall and take summers off. They do not get cancelled. They are not ad-free. They do not begin the first Monday in September and culminate with a finale the first week in February. Music videos hold up, too. Their growth in viewership long after the political eras or wistful summers of yore are a testament to their rich and timeless equity with consumers.
Music videos are a foundational part of the evolving TV advertising ecosystem and are not simply a complementary opportunity. Vevo has amassed the content, progressive distribution and advertising media standards required to be a central component of media plans for brand builders today. Music artists and the content and culture they make are social reference points all day, every day in America and around the world. When it comes to premium content, music videos have been on the forefront of TV distribution and media development for the last forty years.
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The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet.