05/10/21: Vevo Singing A New, CTV-Centric Tune As It Steps Onto The Upfront Stage



Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read


Monday May 10, 2021

Vevo Singing A New, CTV-Centric Tune As It Steps Onto The Upfront Stage

Cathy Applefeld Olson

Having evolved to a main act on the living room stage, Vevo is entering this year’s Upfront market with a television-first approach and a business model to help brands amplify their ad dollars in the connected TV space.

The digital music video network counts 150 million-plus daily viewers who rack up over 25 billion worldwide monthly views and over 35 million daily viewers in the US alone. The percentage of its audience watching on the big screen now trends upward of 40 percent.

“We talked a lot about TV last year, but this year we’re really in the TV business,” says Jesse Judelman, SVP of Sales, Americas. “That’s where the demand from the market is. Our business went to a different place in 12 to 16 months, in what would normally take four- to five-years. We offer marketers a new opportunity to help offset, augment and replace the erosion they are experiencing within the larger TV landscape with traditional advertising. Vevo is one of the antidotes.”

Advertising dollars are following the evolution of consumer habits. For Q2 2021, 50 percent of Vevo’s revenue will be in television, where more than 60 million viewers access its professionally produced music videos and a growing roster of original content, all with some of the world’s biggest stars.

“We’ve had consistent growth in the CTV space in terms of viewership, but to see consumer behavior shift the economics of our business in real time has been amazing,” says Kinsey Tamberrino, VP of East Coast Sales. “And we’ve just continued to see that grow, quarter over quarter, month over month.”

Vevo’s ability to deliver highly engaged viewers in a brand-safe environment at mass scale has landed the network in a sweet spot with advertisers. While in the past it’s jockeyed for position with established linear networks, the company’s been singing a different tune since the second part of 2020 as brands sought new avenues to expand their audience reach.

“We proved we can satisfy volume and perform. As the demand meets the supply, which is a critical moment for us as a digital property, it puts us in a position that allows us to be considered more as TV—not because we want to be, but because it’s the reality of our business,” Judelman says. “Once we ran campaigns and KPIs were met, it brought the proof of concept forward to the place that we are now practical and pragmatic for advertisers.”

I Want My CTV

Vevo’s rise on the big screen—where viewers spend more than 30 minutes per viewing session—has been in concert with the rise in connected television viewership. The trend accelerated during the pandemic and shows no signs of reversing, with linear ratings continuing to decline, and CTV offering networks and advertisers a swath of actionable data points.

“There’s infinitely more in your tool kit when you’re buying connected television than if you’re buying just a linear format that’s brought to you through one feed and distributed to the masses without a host of targeting that we know the industry needs more of,” Judelman says. “CTV is the natural place you need to be, and our content is foundational. It cuts through all audiences, all demographics, all geography. This is one of the first places you need to build for what will be your CTV presence in the future.”

Because not all connected TV platforms reach the same audiences, Vevo is continually expanding its reach into almost twenty platforms on which its content rides to better understand the nuances each brings with them and help advertisers get more comfortable in the space.

“A big part of everything we’re doing is learning how a Samsung, a Vizio, an Amazon or a Roku differ from one another with the same strain of content—and how to offer up products and boost media campaigns within those environments,” he notes. “By understanding those differences, we’re going to be able to deliver campaigns strategically against all of them where a certain audience may be more prominent in one platform vs. another. That’s what we’re planning to optimize in the coming year.”

“We know the audience is going to CTV, and we’re here to vie for where the linear ratings are declining. How can we capitalize on this dynamic and those ad dollars?”, says Tamberrino. “For us to be a partner that can uncover insights advertisers want to know, and curate a more personalized experience in this space, is the next phase.”

Multicultural Content, Diverse Client Base

Ultimately the decision of where to advertise comes down to the featured content. Vevo’s multicultural reach and resonance is striking a chord with a broader mix of brands than ever before.

“Especially as we come out of the pandemic and having the social unrest and all the challenges society faced in 2020… we want to draw on the same emotion of the content and put brands in the relevant environment they want to be adjacent to,” says Tamberrino.

“Our entire client base is more diverse. The foundation is becoming a mile wide vs. being top-heavy with certain categories,” Judelman says. “More advertisers view our content as an environment that can work with any kind of campaign. The television screen has helped drive that narrative forward and brought new advertisers with it. As a result, we’ve gained steam with categories we were doing well with, and activated others.”

Telecom is among the sectors that are escalating, as is local ad content. And although CPG was always a strong category for Vevo, its television foothold enables advertisers to bifurcate exposure on the network. “There’s exposure digitally within the desktop and mobile setting, and now they’re looking at us as a television replacement to build in the reach and audience,” he says. “We’re a platform that can do both.”

With the global language of music as its mainstay, “We’re trying to target advertiser campaigns alongside more contextually relevant content, music videos in particular,” Tamberrino says. “And because of all the consumer insights we have within CTV, we can do that. With this cookie-less world we’re going to be entering, it only makes sense for us to lead with that approach from a content angle.”

Moods, Moments & More

Once advertisers come to the Vevo fold, the company has a growing playlist of offerings around which brands can message, including Moods, Moments, Concierge and its popular franchise, Official Live Performances.

Justin Bieber in March performed four songs live from his latest album “Justice” as part of an Official Live Performance, which melds live footage and original cinematography. J Balvin—Vevo’s most-watched artist of 2020—also used the format to engage audiences.

“We’re designed to amplify existing campaigns, building on the foundation of core audiences, satisfying needs in reach and frequency and then sprucing it up with these new products. There’s only a limited amount of them so we expect they’re going to move largely during the negotiations we’re doing right now,” Judelman says.

Next up is expanding Vevo’s original programming offering.

“We essentially have a hub in the living room [musicians] can participate in, and there’s a potential to create different content that lives there and test the audience’s appetite for different formats. We can create new formats and a new Vevo brand that gets even larger and more profound in the music industry than it has been historically.”

Music videos will always be the foundation, he says. “But when you start to add in content that’s created by our team, like that Justin performance, that is perfect to live on a television screen. So it’s about how else we can collaborate with artists to envision it and dream it. That’s the type of conversation we want to be having with artists and the type of enthusiasm we’re getting from the music community.”

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