Vevo is looking to introduce a paid subscription service as early as this year, CEO Erik Huggers revealed during his appearance at Code Media in Southern California on Wednesday. “Just having a ad-supported model is not sustainable in the long run,” Huggers said.
That’s why the service is now looking to launch a paid tier, which could be available as early as this year, according to Huggers. He assured his audience that Vevo’s free content isn’t going away, saying: “We believe in a dual revenue stream.”
Huggers declined to comment on specifics of the subscription tier, but told Vafriety in an interview at the sidelines of the conference that he wasn’t looking to offer a Spotify-like streaming service with 35 million tracks. “If you want to listen to an entire album, you should subscribe to Spotify,” he said.
Vevo appointed Huggers as its CEO in April of 2015, and the former BBC and Intel executive since worked on building up a San Francisco-based product team that has launched new apps for iOS, Android and most recently Apple TV.
Huggers said Wednesday that these efforts are part of a bigger strategy that also includes producing more original content. Vevo has already been producing some original content around indie musicians and others, but Huggers said that he is also looking to produce a handful of high-profile documentaries — something he called “a couple of silver bullets” when talking to Variety.
Vevo streamed more than 17 billion videos to users in January, according to Huggers; 80% of that content streamed to viewers outside the U.S., and most of it is still consumed on YouTube.
“YouTube is a very large part of our distribution,” Huggers admitted, but he went on to liken the Google-owned video service to a supermarket that has a little bit of everything, as opposed to a specialty store that targets fans for specific genres. Vevo could be the specialty store targeting fan audiences, he suggested, adding: “This is about building an independent, long-term business.”