Vevo’s new live TV channel: it’s all about devices

Vevo took another step towards becoming a full-on music TV network Tuesday with the launch of Vevo TV, a 24-hour live stream of curated programming. The channel is using MTV-like (s VIA) VJs, and is at launch available on the web as well as on mobile devices, Roku boxes and Xbox (s MSFT) 360 gaming consoles.
The company wants to eventually take Vevo TV to cable distributors to compete heads-on with MTV, according to an Adweek report, and it is also thinking about launching genre-specific live streams. Think Vevo Hip Hop, for example. But ultimately, going live is all about devices and the way they’re changing how we watch TV.
Vevo has put a lot of work into apps for mobile and connected devices, which it built in-house with the help of a small team of San Francisco-based developers. Mobile was a big success for the company early on, and the launch of the Xbox app a year ago “turned out to be wildly successful,” as Vevo’s product and tech SVP Michael Cerda put it when we talked about the subject a few months ago.
Vevo followed up with a Roku app in December, and Cerda told me that he wants to tackle additional connected TV platforms as soon as possible. “There is a huge opportunity for us there,” Cerda said.
Continuous playback combined with curation makes a whole lot of sense for something like music videos on connected TVs. Users don’t want to pick up their remote control to pick and choose every single video, but instead want something up and running in the background without interruption. And if a viewer is ever bored by what’s playing on Vevo TV’s live stream, then there’s always tons of on-demand content available right within the same app. It’s the best of both worlds.
So how do Vevo’s cable plans fit into this? Cable obviously has a much wider reach than a device like Roku, but the real lure are cable-sized ad-budgets. One could argue that Vevo might compete with itself if the same programming is available on cable set-top boxes and connected devices. But ultimately, those set-top-boxes are changing, and the distinctions between streaming and cable distribution are going to become less and less visible to consumers (to hear more about the future of TV, check out our paidContent conference in New York next month).
In that world, a live TV channel – distributed on as many platforms as possible – will guarantee that consumers will always access to Vevo, no matter whether they’re streaming or viewing plain old TV. And that’s a smart move.