About a year after sunsetting its own apps in favor of distribution via YouTube and virtual MVPD’s, Vevo expects to sell out “a nine-figure body” of music video advertising inventory in the UpFront. It’s part of Vevo’s plan for “returning music television to the living room,” says Kevin McGurn, President of Sales & Distribution.
In this interview with Beet.TV, McGurn explains the company’s new relationships with distributors and why the upcoming Cannes Lions event is “always a dealmaker’s paradise” for Vevo, which is owned by Universal Music and Sony Music and has global music video licensing rights with hundreds of other labels as well.
About this time last year, Vevo decided to phase out elements of its owned and operated platforms. With its business centered on YouTube distribution, it wasn’t cost effective to continue funding video distribution on its own.
The subsequent strategy was “finding endpoints of distribution in neighborhoods that users frequent where they might enjoy music videos again on television,” says McGurn. Vevo is about to divulge “a number of partnerships” and is offering “inventory anchored in connected television in the YouTube application on the TV’s and in living rooms to market in the UpFront.” McGurn quantifies the inventory at “about a nine-figure body.”
Vevo has typical inventory sharing relationships with MVPD’s in the 10% to 15% range “and they sell it on an audience basis, nothing specific to music or videos.”
The company handles sales for the rest of its inventory, including the use of various programmatic channels and working with SpotX. “We have the mass majority of inventory that’s there and we are a centralized point of buying for music television on all these distributors,” says McGurn.
“The demand is there. We have a larger supply than most people would even know about. The reaction so far from those buyers has been very positive and we think we’ll be able to sell it out in the UpFront.”
McGurn says Vevo’s “technology stack in the living room starts with FreeWheel. That’s our dynamic ad insertion vehicle.”
Vevo is counting on search, discovery and recommendation to ramp up ad sales, along with its understanding of the viewing behavior associated with music television that “far exceeds short-form behavior. We can see all the way up to sixty-five minutes of viewing behavior in a lean-back experience on TV’s if that search and discovery and recommendation is hit right.”
Looking ahead to next month in France, McGurn says, “Cannes for us is always a dealmaker’s paradise” as the company seeks domestic and global deals based on its extensive video licensing rights. “Audiences are aging in the living room and we represent a great counterbalance, to reaching almost twenty-five percent of every country’s population that we operate in.”