This music service sees an opportunity beyond YouTube

Vevo seeing an opportunity beyond YouTube

Digital media company Vevo hosts some of YouTube's most-viewed videos. But as the music-rooted service expands past its staple of music videos, it's looking to be a household name — with or without the Google-owned platform.

"We want to move Vevo brand from being the watermark that it is today," Vevo CEO Erik Huggers said to CNBC. "We want to take it to the next level. We want to be in a position where people seek out Vevo to figure out what's hot, what's the latest artist I need to know and listen to, who are our wonderful hosts — basically we have much more to offer than just a repository of music videos."

On Thursday, Vevo announced a "reboot" of its company, including new branding and logo, more original shows and updates on products including a more personalized mobile app. The company said it would focus more on live productions, and increase short-form content in the five-minute range. It also announced an editorial partnership with The Fader to collaborate on artist documentaries, short films and other projects.

"Ultimately, the way I think about it, I'd like Vevo to be a youth lifestyle brand," Huggers said. "That starts with music, and music is at the core of everything we do."

The company, which was started by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, began as a streaming video service for music videos. Most of its content lives on YouTube. The company is currently owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Google and Abu Dhabi Media.

Today, Vevo's videos amass more than 18 billion views a month and attract 400 million active monthly users. In the first six months of 2016 alone, it had 900 million hours of viewed content.

ComScore data shows that Vevo videos make up 30 percent of YouTube's unique views on desktop, even though Vevo videos only make up 1 percent of content on the platform. (Vevo's percentage of total YouTube views was not available, but considering that 60 percent of Vevo's views are on mobile, the actual percentage may be higher.)

While Huggers is happy with the company's current relationship with YouTube, he believes that the company is focused on creating an experience for all different kinds of videos. Vevo, on the other hand, wants to be the specialty store for music videos, which means it can innovate in a way that speaks to its company faster than YouTube will.

That can include posting its videos on other competing services like Facebook, creating a standalone service that won't require an internet connection or experimenting with new types of video formats that won't be customized for horizontal screens. Vevo talked about creating more mobile-first video content, including the possibility of vertical music videos. With such strong ties to the music industry, it could be a possibility.

"If a billion people around the world are using it, it means YouTube is doing something really, really well, and we're happy to be a part of them," he said. "But I think there is an opportunity. There is white space where a company like ourselves can build a dedicated music video experience that goes above and beyond everything that YouTube does."