×

Vevo TV Goes Back to the Future

Seeking to bridge the gap between online video playlists and traditional music television, musicvideo site Vevo has announced the launch of a linear, ad-supported Web TV platform, dubbed Vevo TV.

For today’s launch, Vevo TV is available in the U.S. and Canada, via Vevo’s website and apps for iOS, Windows, Xbox and Roku. Featuring a 24-hour programming schedule, the platform will feature curated video blocks as well as original programming. It also boasts a caching feature allowing users to flag videos for later viewing.

The development follows last year’s site redesign, which aimed to expand user engagement by rolling out an Echo Nest-powered video playlist function. But while that feature nodded to more modern digital offerings such as Pandora, tailoring videos to a user’s preferences and viewing history, Vevo TV is definitively old-school, running MTV-style programming interspersed with advertisements, all scheduled in advance.

As the site tubthumped in a blog post, all content will be “hand-programmed by humans,” as opposed to the algorithm-driven approach of most digital music services.

Of course, as with any television venture, ratings will count too. “We’re going to pay close attention to what our viewers have to say, and we’ll be looking at real-time data,” said Doug McVehil, Vevo’s senior VP of music programming. “We’re not just going by our guts — it’ll be a combination of gut and real analytics.”

The platform boasts a five-person team of programmers, including veterans of MTV, Fuse and traditional radio. To start, the original content will consist of repurposed versions of Vevo’s existing VOD programs, as well as an expanded, half-hour version of weekly roundup show “Hot This Week.” Taking on the role once occupied by MTV’s “TRL” in the afternoon will be new offering “#HotNow,” which will feature the day’s most popular videos. McVehil said the service is exploring hosted shows with VJs.

While old-timers may welcome the return to video programming, whether users who came of age after the heyday of MTV will take to the top-down model is very much an open question. But even if the service seems to run counter to the prevailing philosophy that every media experience be endlessly personalized and customizable, McVehil sees a demand for a lean-back component as well.

“You don’t always want to lean forward and click and search,” McVehil said. “For example, during weekends from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. we’re doing an EDM block, and eventually there’ll be live streams from clubs around the world. We see young people just keeping that on as the soundtrack to their night.

“A lot of it, quite frankly, is experimentation, seeing what people respond to and what they don’t.”

The company — jointly owned by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Abu Dhabi Media — hopes to expand Vevo TV to cable or satellite TV sometime within the year, though what form such a venture would take remains up in the air.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Woodstock Festival of Arts and Music

    As Woodstock Turns 50, the Fest's 10 Most Sacred Music Moments (Watch)

    Cars were left abandoned along the New York Interstate. Electrical and speaker systems fuzzed and popped. Amps blew then went silent. The rain was endless as the mud sank deep and rank. Young children ran naked and dazed through crowds of strangers. Food was scarce. Water, unclean. Looking back, Woodstock seems a more apocalyptic, than [...]

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Jay-Z to Acquire Ownership Stake in NFL Team (Report)

    Jay-Z will soon acquire a “significant ownership interest” in an NFL team, TMZ reported on Friday. The team was not disclosed, but a source told the site the deal will happen in the “near future,” adding that the billionaire rapper “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL.” Jay-Z’s company, Roc Nation, [...]

  • (L-R) NELL WILLIAMS as Eliza, VIVEIK

    How 'Blinded by the Light' Brought Bruce Springsteen's Music to the Screen for a Song

    Blinded by the Light co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. Born in Kenya when the country was a British colony, she grew up part of the Indian/Asian diaspora who made their way from East Africa to London. For that reason, the 59-year-old’s movies has always dealt with the [...]

  • Blake Shelton, Trace AdkinsCMA Music Festival

    Blake Shelton Takes a Shot at 'Old Town Road' in New Single

    Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have just released a duet, “Hell Right,” that seems to have a beef with “Old Town Road.” But is it a light-hearted, maybe even affectionate slam — or should anyone read culture-war significance into the two country stars expressing a preference for Hank Williams Jr. over Lil Nas X, the breakout [...]

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Teddy Riley Walk of Fame

    From Blackstreet to Hollywood Blvd. as Teddy Riley Receives a Star on the Walk of Fame

    Many musical artists are responsible for hits, whether recording and writing for themselves or producing smashes for others. Teddy Riley’s got the success, having fashioned platinum-plated R&B works for, and with, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Keith Sweat, Doug E. Fresh and more since the mid-’80s, not to mention the music of his own slick soul [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content