For Rob Vélez, Vice President of Inclusive Network Sales at Vevo, his role encompasses more than visiting the offices of advertisers or ad agencies to encourage more spending on campaigns targeted to reach diverse communities across the U.S. and beyond. "It's to maximize value for our diverse artists and the content they create -- and the diverse audiences that content reaches," he says.
"I work in partnership with our research team to discover and explore insights around content consumption -- when and where diverse audiences are watching content, what they are watching, and what behaviors that content drives," he continues. "Understanding these nuances allows us to collaborate with our marketing team to develop a strategic, go-to-market offering that highlights our ongoing value proposition within inclusive marketing."
A growing number of television ventures are employing executives with specific oversight of diversity-focused ad sales. Vélez (pictured at top) welcomes that development as more brands and agencies increase their budgets for media that attracts diverse demographics and increasingly invest in minority-owned and minority-focused media.
"You need to have somebody who understands inclusive marketing. There's a level of art involved," Vélez explains. "This marketplace has existed for quite some time, and I'm happy to see it's trending in the right direction. However, it's not just a trend. It's here to stay."
Of the 20+ Vevo free-ad-supported streaming television (FAST) music video channels distributed worldwide, seven are arranged by music genres popular with diverse audiences, including Vevo Hip-Hop, Vevo Reggaeton & Trap, and Vevo Regional Mexicano assembled from the company's library of more than 800,000 videos. Vevo draws 25 billion views and 1.5 billion hours viewed per month. Sixty-five million people watch Vevo's channels regularly through smart TVs, CTV devices and multichannel FAST platforms. Vevo's roster of 35 CTV distribution partners includes the likes of Hulu Live, Samsung TV Plus, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, Freevee and Vizio. Most recently they announced a partnership with Philo and have more announcements coming this summer.
Count on these companies and others to increase their Vevo channel lineups in the months ahead. "The demand and the appetite for that diverse content is there," Vélez says. "We're going to continue exploring consumption behavior, especially as we work (with these) partners to see what the demand is on their side and launch additional channels where Vevo can strategically help our partners to reach diverse audiences."
Vélez is also clear that the growing demand for inclusive content options advertisers can use is no flash in the pan. "We're all experiencing this uplift in consideration from the marketplace," he notes. "Brands realize that in order to succeed and grow, you have to start speaking to these audiences. They play a big role with their wallets and how they are spending and buying products and services. We're fortunate at Vevo to have the most culturally relevant content that attracts diverse audiences at scale."
Vevo is coming off its latest NewFronts presentation in New York, capped off by a performance from Colombian music superstar J Balvin (pictured above) that had attendees up from their seats from start to finish. At that event, two new initiatives were unveiled: Vevo Features, a channel focused on connecting viewers to the trends and celebration of the moment, such as Pride, Black Music Month, Father's Day and Juneteenth, in June. The other is a branded content studio, On Set, which develops sponsorship opportunities for custom programming, including artist interview/storytelling shows, live performances and video jockey-hosted wraparounds.
"The momentum following our May 4th NewFront presentation is strong," Vélez acknowledges. "J Balvin's performance has existing clients excited to continue working with us. Additionally, it has sparked conversation for new business." Several advertisers are in conversations with Vevo about running campaigns on the new Vevo Features FAST channel or co-developing and presenting On Set content in the near future.
Another new tool in Vélez's corner: Vevo Intelligence, a suite of data-crunching resources that monitor audience and viewership behaviors, contextual and creative insights, and brand campaign performance.
As Vélez develops additional business for Vevo, he encourages a transformation in how the advertising universe determines its position with diverse communities that together will become the majority U.S. population much sooner than anticipated.
"We have to break away from the traditional behavior of how we buy media and who we go to for reaching these audiences," he concludes. "The industry needs to hit the reset button and re-analyze where audiences currently exist and what type of content they consume. It looks a whole lot different than five years ago. Look at the landscape with a fresh set of eyes."
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