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Vevo Is Working on a Paid Music Video Subscription Service (Video)

Could launch as soon as this year.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

The Internet’s dominant music video service is working on a subscription offering.

Vevo Chief Executive Erik Huggers said the company could introduce a paid version of the popular service as soon as this year.

“Today our business is all about ad-supported,” said Huggers, speaking Wednesday at the Code/Media conference The RitzCarlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif. “So we think that one of the important things — we hear this throughout the industry — is the move toward subscription. That’s something we’re interested in.”

Huggers talked about launching a paid version of the Vevo service as one of several changes to revitalize the joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music, created in 2009 to capitalize on the popularity of music videos on YouTube.

Vevo attracts a tremendous amount of online traffic — roughly 17 billion video views a month, half of which are watched on mobile devices — but hopes for a giant windfall from advertising has failed to materialize.

Setting the stage for a new paid offering, Huggers talked about transforming Vevo into a specialty store that understands and caters to its audience and benefits from the human touch. He also plans to add more original content to distinguish the service — something in the same vein as “Amy,” the documentary based on the life of Amy Winehouse.

“We think there is a big opening and a wide space to make something better,” Huggers said. “That requires quite a bit of new muscle tissue that the organization doesn’t have yet.”

Huggers last appeared on the Code/Media stage three years ago as an Intel exec and announced Intel’s plans to launch a Web TV subscription service later christened OnCue. That effort was scuttled in 2013 by CEO Brian Krzanich, and was subsequently sold to Verizon.

The executive called the concept an idea “two years ahead of its time.”

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