VEVO Leaves YouTube Behind With Launch of VEVO TV [INTERVIEW w/ Senior VP of Content]

Did you know that VEVO had a developing television network over at Clearly, the answer is “no,” because if you did, you’d be over there right now watching their countless hours of music-themed original content. But don’t race over to check it all out just yet — stay long enough to read NMR’s enlightening interview with one of the big dogs steering the ship over at VEVO TV.

I first did an interview with Doug McVehil, VEVO’s Senior Vice President of Content & Programming a couple weeks ago, but the “record” function on our “state-of-the-art interview transcripter” (really the “Voice Memos” function on my iPhone) dropped the ball. So then, I had to pretty much contact the Head of Publicity for VEVO and beg her to let me talk to Doug again. Good guy that Doug is (seriously, gold star for this guy), busy schedule notwithstanding, he agreed to chat once more.

And I’m glad he did, because VEVO TV is interesting and new, and has the potential to sync music with images in a way we haven’t seen before. With cool concept television such as “Music Is My Sport” and “Cover Stories” (where we get the details behind cool album covers), YouTube might just be a bright light in the rear-view mirror for this emerging internet powerhouse.


So when you call it VEVO TV, are you guys going to actually have it be on television or are we talking strictly web television for now?

Doug McVehil: We’re starting on the web and connected to TV through products on Xbox and Roku, our apps there. But we definitely aspire to have it be on more places, and television makes perfect sense for that so it’s something we’re looking at down the road for sure.

You are starting as music and ebbing into shows, and that’s kind of how MTV and other music stations have done it, so how are you carving a niche for yourself in that landscape?

Right, well I think the key difference and the thing that is going to keep us different is our complete allegiance to music. We will always be all music; even when we have shows they have music at their core. Everything we do is completely infused with music and will always be; we’re not gonna do shows that are not somehow focused on music.


Now do you guys have plans to use VEVO TV to kind of give audiences a first look at music videos that no one else will have seen otherwise?

Yeah, we’re going to use it for exclusive premieres. We’re going to use it for live concerts that you can’t see anywhere else, a bunch of other things as we go down the road. But it’s definitely going to be a place where you’ll see some things that you can’t see anywhere else.

You guys are mostly associated with YouTube at the moment, but how do you get people to transfer over to and transition to VEVO telvision or

Well, it’s a marketing exercise. We do have access to an enormous audience around the world through YouTube and our other syndication partners, so we’re messaging them through every channel that we can, and the message is that there is another way you can watch music videos that you might not be accustomed to, that there is another option for you to sit back and watch and enjoy.

You already have several interesting series up on your page — how many more series are we going to be seeing until you guys have a full slate?

Well, the slate is constantly evolving. We probably have a dozen shows that are live right now. We have three or four others that are in development right now; it’s not going to grow at a rapid pace. The goal isn’t to fill up the schedule with longer form shows — it’s to have a balance of longer form shows along with music videos, and it can be pop music videos that are huge right now, it can be music videos from the past 30 years, and one of our classic shows, it can be a themed block of music videos like all hip hop or all country or all rock, so there is always going to be a balance between that and the longer form shows.

So you don’t see yourselves having a core demographic? You are really branching out to kind of everybody?

If we look at the age in terms of demographic, the core is always going to be 18 to 34 I think, but our audience via our reach is all ages, it really is. And we do think there is an audience for all genres; we think country is a little bit under-served on the web for example, Latin is a little bit under-served in terms of music videos on the web, so there are definitely places where we see opportunity there.

Do you have a personal favorite of these new VEVO shows?

Right now we’re all very excited about “Lyric Lines,” which is a show where our hero, our host Tommy, is challenged to go pick up girls. The catch is he can only use song lyrics from one artist per episode to do so, so he can’t make up a pick-up line on his own — he has to use a song lyric, and a hidden camera captures all of it. And there is really great moments with people’s reactions and how he does all that is an entertaining concept so we’re all very excited about that.

Now has anybody said that that’s kind of creepy or has it all been pretty positive?

It’s funny — a couple people who he’s approached have been creeped out for sure, but he has this weird, very awkward yet charming way about him, not at all threatening, so it seems to work pretty well.


I see that Ne-Yo already has a video up for “Music Is My Sport,” but who are some of the other major people we can maybe see coming up in that show?

The next one you’re going to see is 50 Cent, which will be premiering soon. And then after that Ciara is the next artist, so those are our first three.


So there you go, people — VEVO TV. Let’s give them a laurel and a hearty handshake, and welcome ‘em to the neighborhood. I, for one, can’t wait to see how long until they have a show about pregnant teens or Jersey Shore kids. Hopefully, the answer is never.

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