In a somewhat surprising move, on-demand music video service VEVO is today launching VEVO TV, an old-school MTV-style linear video channel that users can access on the Web or via the company’s mobile and TV apps.
Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, VEVO TV features themed, hour-long blocks of music videos (an hour of hip-hop, for example), programmed by VEVO staff. It is accessible from a prominent window in the bottom-lefthand corner of the website, from where it can be expanded to full screen. Meanwhile, the company’s apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Roku and Xbox have been updated to prominently feature the new offering.
The question is, why? In an age of seemingly infinite choice and where MTV has long ago shifted from music to a lifestyle brand, is there room for linear music video?
Michael Cerda, VP of Product & Engineering at VEVO, told me at SXSW that the TV channel has been introduced as a way to tackle the “paradox of choice,” where consumers are overwhelmed by too many media options. He says that young people of the millennial generation who have never a known a world without the Internet missed the heyday of music video channels.
Cerda told me that millennials who VEVO tested the service with love the idea of a linear, shared experience that they can just sit back and enjoy. There is a nod to interactivity, in that viewers can save songs to their personal playlist if they like them.
Of course, the older end of VEVO’s audience gets a nostalgic dose of how life used to be, into the bargain.
From a business perspective, VEVO is going for a traditional TV advertising model, with video ads running after every few videos, and sponsored programming. McDonalds and State Farm have come on board as launch sponsors.
VEVO isn’t backing out of its existing model here; this is a supplementary service that the company clearly believes is worth a shot as a new revenue stream. It will be interesting to see if any other on-demand services try the same idea – would you watch ‘Netflix TV?’ Perhaps a world of on-demand, infinite choice isn’t the end game many thought it was. We’ll watch this one with interest.
VEVO TV is available today in the US and Canada, with other countries to follow soon.