Commentary

At Vevo, Certifiable Certainty About Its Place

There’s something to be said about sticking to your knitting even if you’ve never heard the expression before. Do what you know. And no online purveyor does a much better job of doing that than Vevo, whose music video programming has been viewed 11 billion times monthly around the world since 2009 and is, altogether, the third largest video platform there is, thanks to YouTube.

Jonathan Carson, the chief revenue officer who used to work at Nielsen, talked a little at Thursday’s NewFronts, about a collaboration it had with the ratings giant that would allow for reach comparability to linear TV. He said Taylor Swift’s music videos including the then-brand new “Style” drew 25 million fans on Vevo properties the week of Feb. 13, which Carson said outranked every prime time television show that week except “Walking Dead.”

As Nielsen preps its Digital Content Ratings to assess performance across platforms, that will be the kind of data that will either fascinate or repulse marketers. We’ll see.

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Its NewFront had some of the same kind of stunning (but then, when you think about it, totally worthless) stats all the NewFronts do, such as the bulletin that 85% of its viewers listen/view music videos to relax. The other 15%?

But there was other stuff, too. Vevo announced a more formal partnership with Starcom MediaVest to work with that agency and advertisers to identify “Vevo Sleeper Hits.” Those are artists and song that are, kind of silently, getting hot. I think one of those was Meghan Trainor’s “All About The Bass” which started nowhere (and very unfortunately, I’d say) became a big fat, or at least plump, hit. The Sleeper Hits program clues in middle aged advertising guys.

Also Vevo announced a more formalized branded entertainment unit, VevoBE, to work with advertisers. One of those projects will be its new “Your Shot Powered by 7 Up” in which, I swear, “aspiring disc jockeys are given explicit training” so that they can work up to possibly get on the decks with Tiesto, one of the most famous DJs  out there. Similarly, I’m remembering, Yahoo Live has a deal with Simon Cowell and others to search for the “Ultimate DJ.”

My head is spinning like a turntable. Two shows!

Something about Vevo that makes me laugh is that is its Vevo Certified, a designation for artists whose videos have been seen at least 100 million times. That’s a lot, obviously, but then you look at the list of certified artists and it goes on forever, which, of course, is an indication of Vevo’s excited and attentive. audience, and it uses the designation on lots of branding efforts including a kick ass live concert, this year on Aug. 17.  

An artist goes from DCVR (for Discover) to Lift to Certified, as his/her/their videos get played more and more, and last night,  Halsey, who performed, was elevated to Lift status, right on stage. She teared up. It was sweet, and it seemed to be the surprise Vevo said it was.

The final part of the night was new but not quite a surprise.  Vevo announced and introduced its new CEO, Erik Huggers, which had already been all over the press. He came on stage and said hello, and said, really, this was his first day on the job at  the place. He's probably excited to be somewhere where being certifiable is a really good thing. but you're expected to work at it.

Here’s the “Jeopardy” answer to a question no one will ask: Every online video place gets about 60% of its audience from mobile devices. I’m not saying that based on some study that says so, but just from every presentation I’ve seen this week.

Forgetability: Except for the Hulu presentation, I don’t think I’ve heard one reference that hints at online’s viewability problem. That’s not surprising since one could sort of assume NewFront presenters are premium enough that they are the antidote to the ill. Still, at NewFronts, bad news is mostly no news.

Curious Marketing Ploy To Watch: It seems weird to me that Cablevision will begin to offer Hulu as a pay option, and that Hulu announced it is angling for more such deals. But even with a lot of good looking content projects in progress, Hulu is still mainly a replay service, not so dissimilar from all those usually-cumbersome VOD products built into cable subscriptions. So why pay $6.99, or whatever, a month to get the same thing from Hulu?

TechCrunch offers this explanation: "Those who choose to bundle in Hulu Plus with their Cablevision service will gain the same streaming catalog as those who would have otherwise signed up for Hulu on their own, but the difference here is the convenience of being able to pay for Internet and the streaming service on just the one monthly bill.

"That can make it easier for budgeting purposes, but it could also help Cablevision retain customers who may have otherwise decided to sever their relationship with the company when they decided to cancel their pay TV service. It can help Cablevision acquire new customers who may have never wanted to sign up for cable TV in the first place, but were looking to choose a new internet provider."

pj@mediapost.com

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