That awkward moment when you call out one of your own shareholders for being less ‘brand-safe’ than you for any advertisers wanting to avoid having themselves associated with extremist content…
Vevo’s latest move to distance itself from YouTube targets the latter’s current Achilles heel at a time when a number of brands have already suspended their advertising on Google’s video service.
“With hundreds of millions of hours of content created and consumed on YouTube daily, some brands have found themselves in the unenviable position of being associated with highly objectionable content,” wrote Vevo’s chief sales officer Kevin McGurn in a blog post last week.
“I believe YouTube will take steps to address these issues. That said, we believe there is a safer way for brands to maximise their reach today, with the confidence of knowing who and what they’re aligned with.”
You can guess what that safer way is. “With Vevo content, a brand can more effectively target where, when, and what it associates with in reaching an audience on YouTube,” continued McGurn, setting out Vevo’s “multiple layers of quality control” to vet content for its advertisers.
“Overall, we believe our clients are better served in the safer environment that Vevo offers on YouTube and other platforms,” he wrote, in a post headlined ‘The Oasis in the Desert’. Oof.
You could argue that this is necessary survival instincts at work: Vevo wants to avoid the big brands pulling their budgets from its service if they see it as purely a subset of YouTube.
It’s also not a new move from the company to argue that its catalogue of music videos and shows offers a more ‘premium’ environment than YouTube’s user-generated content environment. Vevo has been saying that since it launched, without creating obvious public tension with its biggest distributor and minority shareholder.
We’d still love to be a fly on the wall at the next board meeting after this blog post, though…
Experienced Vevo-watchers within the industry will be as interested by some of the figures published by McGurn in his piece.
He says that Vevo is now up to more than 21bn monthly views and 960m hours of viewing a month – note, that averages out as just over 2.7 minutes per view, which tells its own story about the challenges of making money from music videos on YouTube’s wider service, where long watch times are key.
Also interesting: “With over 300,000 pieces of content, Vevo makes up less than 0.5% of all videos on YouTube, yet according to data from comScore, 43% of YouTube’s monthly audience is watching Vevo content.”
The two companies remain firmly – if sometimes uneasily – wedded together.