Huggers’ appointment is effective immediately. The 20-year digital media vet takes over for Vevo founding CEO Rio Caraeff, who left the company at the end of 2014. Vevo — YouTube’s biggest single content partner — is majority-owned by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, with minority stakes held by Google and Abu Dhabi Media.
“This has all the makings of something really exciting,” Huggers said in an interview. “It’s a fantastic brand, there’s a technology angle… and it’s a global play.”
Huggers, 42, most recently was a senior VP at Verizon Communications. The telco last year acquired Intel’s OnCue over-the-top business for about $200 million after the chip maker decided to abandon the project. Huggers developed OnCue at Intel, where he was president of the company’s media division from 2011 to 2014.
“We are enormously excited about the future of Vevo under Erik’s leadership,” UMG and Sony Music said in a statement. “We are committed to continued support and investment in the long-term success of the company… With a proven track record of innovation, Erik has the perfect skill set to grow the Vevo business.”
Before joining Intel, Huggers headed the BBC’s Future Media & Technology division, where he launched the BBC iPlayer online video service. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft on several digital-media initiatives as well as at Endemol. After Verizon bought OnCue, Huggers had been among those rumored to be a candidate to Hulu’s new chief.
Huggers is scheduled to appear at Vevo’s Digital Content NewFronts event Thursday in New York. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and said he was still determining whether he would relocate to New York, where the company is based.
Vevo, launched in 2009, generates more than 11 billion monthly views globally across multiple platforms and syndication partners. The service’s library includes 140,000 music videos, plus original programming and live concert performances.
The privately held company claims it generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue and has grown its business at a rate of more than 50% year-over-year since 2010. Vevo says it has paid more than $500 million to date in royalties paid to rights owners, artists and songwriters.