Vevo’s JP Evangelista has spoken about how the rise of smart TVs is powering the next phase of music video as a creative form for artists.
The SVP of content, programming & marketing was interviewed by Music Week during a visit to London, which is home to one of the company’s three studios, alongside New York and LA. As a Vevo exec of 14 years, Evangelista has a long-term perspective on the promotional format.
“It’s probably safe to say that the music video is more important now than ever in an artist’s trajectory,” he said. “It is a focal piece for fanbases and for new fans to discover artists.
“With our distribution footprint, we’re really bringing those videos to the forefront for fans everywhere and how they want to consume them.”
Vevo’s 800,000-strong catalogue is amassing 25 billion views a month. Users can view individual videos, or access Vevo’s linear programming of themed channels and playlists.
“We have very strong consumption numbers, with a lot of those now moving back towards the television,” said Evangelista. “That’s been a real phenomenon that we’ve seen over the course of the last four or five years. It harks back to the glory days of MTV in the ’80s.”
The Vevo veteran noted that label budgets of £250,000 for videos are increasingly common, with a dozen or so each year above £1 million.
“There’s a whole [ad-funded] monetisation vehicle now that helps support the creation of these higher budget videos,” he said.
While YouTube remains the dominant form of consumption, smart or connected TV (CTV) has opened up revenue opportunities from advertising and increased engagement with artists’ videos.
“It’s a new medium that allows for the expansion of an artist’s footprint,” Evangelista said. “Over the last five to six years, it’s been an area that we’ve been able to run aggressively – [previously] music wasn’t prominently displayed [on TV] for a period of time.”
Almost one third of the video network’s global views are now via the TV screen, although that still includes smart TV consumption via YouTube.
Vevo has been developing its proprietary CTV app and TV channels, which attracted five billion views last year. The app relaunched in 2022 with an improved user experience and personalisation. It was nominated at the Music Week Awards 2023 in the Music Consumer Innovation category.
Music video is more important now than ever in an artist’s trajectory
Evangelista said that the move into CTV has expanded the potential reach for artists globally.
Watch times are significantly longer on TV, at around 30 minutes on average, compared to one or two music videos on the go via mobile.
The CTV app allows access to themed Vevo channels globally on connected TV platforms including Amazon Fire, Samsung TV Plus, Pluto TV, Hulu, Roku and Google TV.
Vevo works with around 35 CTV partners on placement of video premieres and exclusives to drive promotion on each platform. In the UK, Vevo is expanding from five to 10 channels.
“There will be more genre and decades representation in the UK,” said Evangelista.
Connected TV advertising revenue now represents 50% of Vevo’s direct advertising revenues, up from just 4% three years ago. Advertisers can now buy ads upfront with Vevo.
“It allows us to have advertisers in the same way that they buy traditional television,” said Evangelista. “We’re able to plan revenue much better now that it’s shifted more towards television than when it was a digital-only marketplace.”
While advertising revenues are not disclosed, Evangelista described them as “significant” and growing.
Vevo films original content featuring more than 300 artists every year, including its Official Live Performance strand for huge names, such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and J Balvin.
Evangelista underlined the full support for breaking acts with the DSCVR programme, including filmed performances and marketing. The 2023 line-up includes FLO (pictured), Piri & Tommy, Wesley Joseph and Flowerovlove.
“We’ve seen amazing success with the artists picked on the list,” said Evangelista. “We don’t get every single one right, but we bat at a fairly high average – Sam Smith and Billie Eilish, among others, came through the programme.”
A new format, Extended Play, is set to launch with Niall Horan. It features multiple songs and artist commentary filmed in a unique location.
Earlier this year, Trending On TikTok was launched as a round-up of the top new videos.
“It’s a natural partnership,” said Evangelista. “We wanted to have a marriage of the official music video with all the fan interpretations that were recurring across TikTok.”
In common with DSPs, catalogue has also been a key driver of growth for Vevo.
“Connected television has been a saving grace for us in the catalogue world,” said Evangelista. “We’ll be releasing a 2010s-themed channel on Samsung TV Plus – even that is now considered catalogue, if you can believe it.”