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Vevo's viewership jumps on TV-like tactics

The music site's monthly views surged by the end of 2013, helped by programming that mimics regular TV. Stay tuned for much more this year.

Vevo's app for television. Vevo

Fashioning itself in the mold of bygone music video television has been a big part of Vevo's growth, and this year will take the strategy one step further.

The online music video company hit 5.5 billion monthly views in December 2013, according to a viewership report from the company Wednesday. That marks a 46 percent jump from a year earlier, a big acceleration from the roughly 9 percent pace of growth in December 2012.

According to the report, the company's number of videos watched globally through all of 2013 rose to 55 billion, 12.3 billion of which were viewed in the US. By December, it counted 243 million unique viewers. Mobile and connected TV viewing was growing fast, with views from those platforms up 176 percent in 2013 worldwide --in the US, they constituted 60 of monthly views by the last month of the year.

On TVs, linear channels -- how the company refers to its genre-based blocks of back-to-back videos it launched a little less than a year ago -- are drawing a lot of the viewing. Caraeff said approximately 40 percent to 45 percent of views on Roku and Apple TV are through the linear channels, and the linear channels receive more minutes of video per viewer per month.

Chief Executive Rio Caraeff told CNET in an interview that Vevo plans this year to pursue more apps, countries, platforms and original programs. With more than a third of Vevo's revenue coming from sponsorship and ads sold for the original shows, the company has a whole new slate of original, longer-form shows coming -- and even a move onto cable TV.

The company is creating a show for NuvoTV, the Latino cable TV channel. "The Collective" is an hour-long variety program music and pop culture, with Jennifer Lopez on board as a producer.

Vevo's December monthly views surged in 2013 Vevo

The NuvoTV program is largely about increasing exposure for Vevo, It's part of the company's effort to be focused more meaningfully on smaller niches of people. It's also a part of Vevo's move to keep the focus of its programming on music, but not as much on music performance.

"Music will be a common thread," said Caraeff. "But also it will be music and dating, music and family, not just a concert or performance exclusively."

"The Collective" will debut in early March, and Vevo plans to be launching more shows on its own service in early May.

In another bid to increase its exposure, Vevo is working with Twitter and Facebook about collaborating more closely on such things as video premieres on those networks, Caraeff said. "We can bring more content to those platforms, and they give us global reach."

However, its international rollout hit some speed bumps. After launching its own apps outside YouTube in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland last year, putting it in 13 countries, Vevo's expectation to roll out to more countries, including Mexico, has been slower than it expected a few months ago. He added that Vevo is also also "focusing on doubling down" in some of the bigger countries it has already entered, finding ways to do a better job in Germany or France.

Working to secure music publishing rights and set up ad-sales teams in the new areas it will enter, Vevo will add more countries in April and May, Caraeff said.

"We wish were in 50 countries, and not 13," he said.