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Former Intel Web TV Boss Erik Huggers Is Vevo's New CEO

His old job -- trying to launch a Web TV service -- was hard. This one will be, too.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Erik Huggers, the executive who led Intel’s aborted efforts to break into the Web TV business, has a new job. This one won’t be easy, either.

Huggers is the new CEO and president of Vevo, the music video joint venture started by Universal Music Group and Sony Music. The service, which generates 11 billion video views a month, is one of the biggest media assets on the Web. But it’s also in a perennially precarious position, in large part because it is dependent on Google’s YouTube for the majority of its traffic.

Vevo had previously been run by former Universal executive Rio Careff, who launched the service in 2009 and left last fall.

“I believe there is great potential in accelerating innovation to delight audiences with new product features and premium content,” Huggers said in a statement.

In the U.S., Huggers is best known as the man who led Intel’s “over the top” TV subscription service, which he announced in 2013 but never launched. Instead, Intel decided to bail on the idea, and sold Huggers’s “OnCue” service to Verizon; Huggers left the telco about a year ago.

At Vevo, Huggers will have several challenges, starting with his music label owners, who never seem sure about their vision for the company. Vevo, which makes its money from advertising, isn’t profitable. And while it generates revenue for the labels, they’ve also toyed with selling it — last year they hired bankers, and entertained an offer from DreamWorks Animation, before deciding to hold on to it.

And this year, Vevo seems likely to become embroiled in a conflict between the big music labels, which are trying to cut back on free streaming music, and YouTube, which generates much of its traffic from the videos supplied by Vevo and other music owners. While YouTube is rolling out a paid subscription service, in part to placate the labels, most people view it as the world’s largest free streaming music service.

The labels are already in a tussle with Spotify, which offers its own free streaming music service; later this year, as the labels’ licensing deals with Google and YouTube come up for renewal, we may see similar battles.

Bloomberg reported on Huggers’s appointment earlier tonight.

This article originally appeared on

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