Between Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant, MTV barely has time for music videos anymore. It's far from being the network of Kurt Loder and TRL. Now, it looks as if Vevo is planning to fill that void in the airwaves by expanding from the Internet to TV.
Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff told the New York Post recently that the music-video service would offer a "mix of programming, live events and archived performances" on television. Though the plan is in its early phases—the company, for one, has no distribution deals with cable or satellite providers yet—Vevo has been gearing up for this transition for some time. The company is working with a variety of Internet TV manufacturers and set-top boxes to bring its brand everywhere from Apple to Google TV.
The move also reignites the war between Vevo and MTV. In recent months, the two have been at loggerheads over traffic and record label-backing. Universal, Sony, and EMI have put their support behind Vevo; Warner Music Group does not offer its content through Vevo. Instead, it has a deal with MTV.com for its music videos. Additionally, both companies have furiously disputed which network is the No. 1 destination for music content.
While MTV hasn't been focused on "Music Television" for a long time—actually, it officially dropped that tagline in February—the channel still aims to be a destination for music. Songs are advertised during its reality series; the VMAs continue to be a big draw for artists and fans; and viewers are ushered to MTV's sister networks, both online and off. "Artists and managers realize there's real value to being on MTV, VH1, CMT, and our online sites," Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks' music group, told Fast Company recently.
Still, where MTV is overrun with its continuous cycle of cheap reality programming, Vevo sees opportunity, which clearly extends from YouTube to the boob tube.
"We're 100% music-video and music-programming content—and MTV is not," said David Kohl, VP of sales and operations at Vevo. "If someone is truly looking for original music content, Vevo is by far still No. 1."