Vevo featured prominently in the end-of-year analyses of what’s popular on YouTube: it accounted for 43 of the top 250 channels in 2014, ahead of nearest rival Maker Studios’ 29 entries in that chart. Now Vevo has published its latest figures on viewing across all platforms including a notable milestone: more than 10bn monthly video views in January 2015 alone.
That’s up 86% year-on-year, with 49.5% of Vevo’s monthly views now happening on mobile devices and connected TVs, compared to 38.8% a year ago. Vevo also said that 2bn of its January views came from the US, meaning that 80% of its views are coming from elsewhere in the world. Mexico, where Vevo launched in April 2014, is already up to 1bn monthly views, incidentally.
Absent from the announcement, unsurprisingly, is any indication of how much money Vevo is making (or, rather, losing) from its business – last June, its 2014 revenues were tipped to be around $350m.
There is also no news on a prospective buyer for the company, with speculation throughout 2014 that it was on the verge of being acquired by DreamWorks Animation, or Liberty Media, or AT&T, or… well, just about anyone who might be in the market for a popular, music-focused multi-channel network.
Despite its sharp growth in terms of views, Vevo has started 2015 in a somewhat uncertain position, then – with its founding CEO Rio Caraeff having left the company at the end of 2014. Vevo has paid out more than $500m in royalties to music rightsholders since 2010, but its value to industry shareholders Universal Music and Sony Music is as much about its potential valuation in a bumper sale.
Disney agreed to pay up to $950m including earnouts for Maker Studios – which currently has 1bn less monthly views than Vevo – so a $1bn+ valuation for Vevo *shouldn’t* be out of the question. But then Vevo and Maker are different companies: one that pays music royalties and has music-industry shareholders, and other that just pays a few royalties to music publishers for a small proportion of its content.
Any other MCN showing 86% annual growth and 11-digit monthly views would probably have been snapped up by now. Vevo’s task in 2015 is to find a buyer unfazed by the specific challenges of its business.