Exclusive DTVE Interview: Hedvig Arnet, vice president of business development, Vevo

Hedvig Arnet, vice president of business development at Vevo tells Digital TV Europe about making the transition from digital to linear TV and how it operates its music curated channels across multiple territories.

The formally YouTube-focused platform made the transition to linear television with the launch of its music focused FAST channels.

Vevo’s 24/7 programming is curated by decades, like the 70s, 80s and 90s, to genres, such as Pop, Country, Latino and R&B. With its FAST channels operated across more than 70 linear TV channels worldwide including services like Apple, Roku, Samsung Plus TV, Amazon and YouTube.

Speaking on the transition Arnet says, “we have always been a very YouTube focused company; a lot of our presence is on YouTube. That’s where most of our viewership still comes from today. But five or six years ago, we really shifted our strategy to have our focus on the living room and have a destination off YouTube.”

The company’s debuted its FAST channels in 2018 and 2019, following partnerships with Samsung Plus and Pluto TV in the US. Arnet notes the successful launch determined the company’s strategy going forward as Vevo attempted to break into the FAST market.

“We really saw this performance that was much higher than we expected, she adds. “We saw that the consumer was ready for a lean back experience in the living room.”

Despite the move to linear TV,  Vevo presence on YouTube still remains strong with 20 million subscribers and wide portfolio of content featuring Niall Horan, Demi Lovato and Doja Cat, among more.

She notes, “YouTube is an amazing partner for us. It just serves a particular way of viewing the content. Entering the vast space of FAST where perhaps YouTube isn’t as dominant yet, we’re able to serve our content and reach consumers in a different way.”

Navigating the FAST market that currently is typically centered on traditional scripted or factual programming, Vevo’s niche offering fills a gap in the market.

“Music is certainly different from any other content that these platforms have on their service which presents both an opportunity and a challenge, Arnet says. “Its an opportunity in the way that it’s probably not something that they have already so that they’re interested in speaking with us. But it’s also a challenge, because it does operate so differently, it’s structured differently, and ad rates are different.”

“Music just serves a different need than a lot of other TV. But it also because a lot of the music videos are short and is something that you can consume for a shorter period of time which I think that is an advantage for us as well.”

In Europe, Vevo’s key markets include UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain where it provides localised channels. These include Vevo Schlager Pop showcasing latest and greatest German pop music from artists.

Arnet points out operating across different territories where the FAST market is still growing compared to the US, partnerships with the local operators in those regions are priority.

She stress, “It gets very complicated very quickly in terms of, of the rights for music. So whenever you enter a new territory, it’s necessary to have local deals with the different publishing societies”.

One of Vevo’s key factors when expanding its presence in a new region is advertising and how much revenue advertising in those countries will generate.

Though Vevo has ambitions to expand his footprint across wider Europe, Arnet explains, “When you’re looking at Northern Europe, Scandinavia, you might see much higher CPMs, but very small markets. Hence, it’s difficult sometimes to make a business case for that. If you’re looking at Eastern Europe, you might see more volume, but much lower CPMs. I think there you see much more development in the advertising market.”

The company has recently launched of the Vevo ’70s & ’80s FAST channel in the UK and in Italy and Vevo’s Années 90s & 2000s channel in France. With plans to debut of its hip hop and R&B channels in the UK, as well as, Vevo’s 70s & 80s channels in Spain on Samsung TV Plus later this summer.

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