Earlier today we posted a product and biz review of Vevo by Ty Ahmad-Taylor, founder and CEO of FanFeedr and previously SVP of Strategy and Product Development at Viacom (NYSE: VIA). It has generated a bunch of discussion and tweets since this morning. Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff had a lengthy response to the article in comments as well, and we are posting it below in full:
My name is Rio Caraeff and I am the CEO of VEVO. Thank you for taking the time and interest to write about us. I appreciate your thoughtful perspective and insights. If you don’t mind, I would like to offer a few comments in response to your post.
ECONOMICS: The Business of Advertising & Music Videos
We believe that music programming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment available on-line. In terms of the popularity of music videos, the numbers on YouTube and across the broader internet speak for themselves with many billions upon billions of total views. In order to build a meaningful business around music videos, we believe that VEVO can play a role in aggregating a large audience around this form of content everywhere that engaged viewers happens to be – whether it be within YouTube, while at an artist website, within the AOL (NYSE: AOL) or CBS (NYSE: CBS) networks (recent VEVO partners we announced), at VEVO.com or even on any connected television or handheld platform.
VEVO will provide it’s music video experience within all of these environments, providing many hundreds of millions of views and tens of millions of viewers. VEVO will manage the ad sales, ad inventory and underlying audience metrics to create a large scale network of engaged and passionate music fans which is available for the integration of premium brand & advertising partners in a clean and well-lit environment.
It is early days still, but we are very encouraged by the reaction we have seen in the marketplace so far, and last week we announced over 15 major brand partners (AT&T (NYSE: T), Colgate, McDonalds, Infiniti and many others) who are supporting the launch of the VEVO network.
SEARCH: Giving Fans What They Want
It is our absolute intention to offer the best music video experience for the benefit of all fans who love music. We are very conscious and aware of our search experience and the challenges that are faced without a full aggregation of all the worlds music videos. We are planning on addressing this on two fronts, both with an ongoing and immediate urgency.
1) We are continuing to strike licenses with many different music licensors and recently announced deals that will bring in tens of thousands of new, established, major and independent artists into the VEVO experience. We have over 15K videos right now and within Q1 we will have twice that amount within VEVO. These videos will start to flow into our network starting in January and our experience will keep getting better.
The promise of what VEVO will offer, a high quality experience for fans and for brands across a massively distributed footprint is resonating well within the music community and I feel good about the progress we have made so far.
2) At the same time, we understand that VEVO may never be able to have EVERYTHING that EVERYONE will ever want – which is why we are working on other search solutions to significantly improve our search results which will simply direct fans to the best and highest quality versions of music programming from artists they love, whether or not those videos are licensed into the VEVO network.
CONTROLLING OUR OWN DESTINY: Internal vs External Competencies
You are correct in that YouTube is our partner and we work closely with them in many areas, not the least of which is in the hosting and streaming of music programming on VEVO.com and on VEVO within YouTube. Our partnership is designed to focus on what both of our companies do well and is mutually symbiotic and well balanced.
Regarding Schematic, yes it is true that we worked with Schematic early in the process on the design of VEVO but that was a relatively short engagement that was necessary while we were in the midst of building up our own internal design, product and engineering competencies. We transitioned away from Schematic many months ago and have been managing all aspects of the business internally with VEVO ever since. This was always our intention from the very beginning as we believe that developing internal competencies is critical in order to control your own destiny and to provide the best experience for our customers.
We are a very young company, far less than 1 year old – who believed in getting to market quickly to learn what music fans and brand partners want and then to focus on iterating and improving rapidly going forward. While far from perfect, VEVO represents a clear and simple mission which is to provide a high quality and far reaching music video experience for the benefit of all fans who love music.