Code/Media: Vevo Considering Music Video Subscription Service

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Erik Huggers

During the tech and media conference, CEO Erik Huggers says he's also touting plans to build up the portal's original programming.

Vevo could soon jump into the subscription race. 

CEO Erik Huggers on Wednesday told the crowd at the Code/Media 2016 conference in Dana Point, Calif., that a "more premium" subscription product is something that he's mulled since taking the helm of the music video portal last April. 

"Just having an ad-supported model is not sustainable in the long run," said Huggers. 

He was hesitant to give specific details about what a Vevo subscription would look like or when it would be ready, but noted that there "will absolutely be a free Vevo" alongside a "more premium" paid option. 

Huggers joined Vevo from Verizon last year following a vacancy left by former CEO Rio Caraeff. During his talk with the media executive-heavy crowd at the tech and media conference, Huggers acknowledged that there were "a lot of question marks" surrounding Vevo when he took over. 

The exec's plan to transform Vevo, which currently has 17 billion video views a month, starts with its distribution of music videos. He noted that Vevo, which is co-owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media and Google, distributes on about two dozen platforms despite its reputation as a purveyor of music videos on YouTube.

Huggers is also working on turning Vevo into "a specialty store that only focuses on music, that does justice to music, caters to the audience, offers curation and offers a better experience than what I would call the lowest common denominator of content." He added: "Is it right that amazing content from our artists sits right next to a cat video?"

Huggers has also made original programs a focus, noting that currently "the original programming is OK but it doesn't cut through." To fix that, he has hired former Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt to run content for Vevo. 

"This is about building an independent, long-term business," he said. 

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