Vevo is developing a paid subscription tier, according to CEO Erik Huggers, that could premiere as early as this year. While free, ad-supported Vevo will continue to exist, “just having an ad-supported model is not sustainable in the long run,” Huggers said onstage at Re/code’s Code/Media conference.
“You hear this throughout the industry,” Huggers said. “The move toward subscription — a more premium product.” Players as varied as Starz and Fullscreen have weighed entries into subscription services. Most notably, YouTube Red (which launched last year) debuted exclusive content behind its paywall just last week.
Vevo could be considering something similar. Huggers told Re/code that the company eventually hopes to create original content in the vein of the award-winning documentary Amy, about Amy Winehouse — but “that requires quite a bit of new muscle tissue that the organization doesn’t have yet,” he conceded. Vevo already offers some original programming that takes advantage of its sweeping music video catalog.
Vevo ad sales continue to flourish, Huggers added, noting that the company had its best year by far in 2015. Vevo, which is co-owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media and Google, clocks about 17 billion views per month — the majority of which take place outside of the United States and are consumed on YouTube. But Huggers is hoping to evolve Vevo into more of a curated experience — “a specialty store that only focuses on music, that does justice to music,” he said. “Is it right that amazing content from our artists sits right next to a cat video?”
Last December, Vevo acquired ShowYou, a social media aggregation and subscription-based video company, which likely foretold its foray into the subscription space.