Vevo original shows are multiplying -- and getting animated

Streaming service amps up its original content with its biggest programming slate so far, finding visitors spend more time when they have more than just slick music videos to dive into.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
3 min read

Vevo's new slate of originals includes new shows like "Super Fan Showdown" premiering Tuesday, in which megafans compete against each other for artist-related prizes. Vevo

Vevo, the online music-video streaming service, Tuesday unveiled its biggest slate of original content in five years of creating its own shows.

Vevo said in a blog post that the new slate has more than 100 episodes of original programming for its platform, which lives on Vevo's website and its device apps as well as on YouTube, the massive video site owned by investor Google. After beginning an original-programming push five years ago with "GO Shows" to supplement its stable of music videos, Vevo's new lineup covers fashion and lifestyle, as well as music topics. New shows are available starting Tuesday.

The new slate, which is expanding in number of episodes by roughly 50 percent from the previous year, also includes Vevo's first animated series, "A.K.A," in which artists like Iggy Azalea, Neon Trees and Avicii explain how they got their stage or band names.

Original programming has become the strategy du jour of streaming-video sites of all stripes in the past couple of years. With Netflix's push for originals like "House of Cards" garnering it popular buzz and high-profile accolades, subscription-video rivals like Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu have been chasing similar home-developed TV series to rival that of cable networks, while advertising-based video sources like Vevo have focused on shorter-form programs.

The goal for Netflix and other subscription services is for content costs -- often their biggest expense by far -- to come more under their own control and to create reasons for subscribers to stick around. Doug McVehil, Vevo's senior vice president of content and programming, said the original shows increase Vevo visitors' time spent viewing.

"One of the great things about our original content is it really complements our video catalog," he said in an interview, adding that having an original animation about Iggy Azalea alongside her videos creates a deeper experience for viewers to dive into.

The new programming from Vevo, a joint venture between labels Universal Music and Sony Music and outside investor Abu Dhabi Media, is also a way to work with advertisers differently. The new slate includes programs that are sponsored by brands, such as "Day Off With." The show, which follows artists on their day off, is sponsored by Fuze.

McVehil said the ultimate goal is to cultivate Vevo's own identity.

"We want to make things that are clearly a Vevo product," said McVehil. "Vevo shows should be like the cool friend that knows everything about music, that isn't a snob about it."

The company previously developed a show for traditional television. "The Collective," an hour-long variety program about music and pop culture, aired on NuvoTV, the Latino cable TV channel. Jennifer Lopez, who helps direct the channel's creative strategy, was on board as a producer.

The program is on hiatus, McVehil said, though he called it "a great experiment."

"It was our first foray into television. We have learned quite a bit from it," he said. "It's something we definitely aspire to do, to be on multiple platforms."

UPDATED at 9:15 a.m. PT: with further comments from interview and detail about "The Collective."