The deal is the latest in a series adding distribution of linear music channels for Vevo, which is also a big player in connected TV with its on-demand offerings.
Distributors are finding Vevo to be a programmer that can offer channels that reach a broad range of viewers, including the younger demographics.
“Music is an essential genre in entertainment, so adding the world’s music video category leader to our platform is a vital edition,” said Shawn Eldridge, VP, strategic alliances and content, Plex. “Vevo’s coveted, high-quality content supports our mission of delivering an amazing user experience and being a one-stop-shop for streaming media.”
The channels that will appear on Plex are Vevo Pop, Vevo Country, Vevo Hip-Hop, Vevo R&B, Vevo Latino, Vevo Reggaeton & Trap, Vevo ’70s, Vevo ’80s, Vevo ’90s, Vevo 2K, Vevo Holiday
In addition to the U.S., the Vevo channels will be available on Plex in Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Mexico.
Generally speaking Vevo receives no carriage fees and sells a portion of the advertising on the channels it programs.
After focusing on ad-supported video on demand as its connected TV strategy, Vevo has been looking to get its channels on streaming platforms like Plex as well as virtual MVPDs like Hulu Plus Live. It is also available via traditional cable operators including Comcast and Cox.
“The crux of our entire strategy is ubiquitous distribution,” Kevin McGurn, president for sales and distribution at Vevo told Broadcasting+Cable.
“Given our ownership structure with the music industry and our pervasive presence on YouTube, getting our content out to every endpoint just makes sense,” McGurn said, adding “we’re unencumbered by businesses that we had that previously existed that we were trying to protect. We’re not trying to protect anything.”
In the new media world, Vevo is similar to MTV in the early days of cable, when viewers would call their cable companies to tell them that “I want my MTV.”
“Those [MTV} guys were mavericks,” McGurn said. “They did it in a kind of guerilla atmosphere and we wanted to replicate that.”
Vevo started out with applications that were pure video on demand that allowed people to find videos they were looking for. Vevo reverse-engineered its app to give viewers a retro electronic program guide to find channels instead.
“We found that with the advent of FAST services, when we put on 24 hour channels, our watch time went up, our affinity went up, the cross promotion between channels went up dramatically and your ability to hang onto viewers for their time was dramatically increased,” he said.
With channels, Vevo can more effectively collect viewers by demo, by mood, or this time of year, by season. ”Our goal is to grow the commercial and promotional value of music videos. So that doesn't stop at any one service,” McGurn said.
Featuring big names like Taylor Swift , Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Rhiana, Vevo can convince distributors to promote its channels as a way to keep viewers from leaving their environments, whether it’s The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus or Vizio WatchFree Plus.
“These services are investing billions of dollars in their growth and we get to ride along with it,” McGurn said. “They’re trying to figure out what their business is and to build it thoughtfully and not overwhelm people with choice.”
At the same time a battle for consumers is coming and having Vevo is proving to be an advantage. “This space is so new the competition hasn’t even started yet. There is a knock-down, drag-out war that’s coming.”
For Vevo the next space where viewers are going to conquer might be digital broadcast. “We’re exploring it right now,” McGurn said. “There is a big opportunity there.” ■
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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