Vevo, the global music content network, is a vocal public champion of the new ‘fit-for-TV’ definition that Barb created in the UK this year to help advertisers differentiate between broadcast-standard television on video sharing platforms and ‘the rest’..
The content owner is convinced that its uber-quality offerings, which include the music videos from the world’s greatest artists, should be treated like linear broadcast TV or broadcaster VOD when deciding where to place advertising budgets. And it believes that media buyers need to embrace the fit-for-TV concept if they want to maintain audience reach, especially into younger audiences, as viewers migrate into streaming.
Barb is the UK’s most important TV measurement company, and it unveiled fit-for-TV in February. To be classified as ‘fit-for-TV’, content on video sharing platforms must be brand-safe and compliant with media regulations, and it must also be clear that there was editorial oversight for the programming.
The idea is that the definition provides a consistent definition by which the television industry (buyers and sellers) can judge content. Chris Wright, Head of Sales, UK & International at Vevo, called the creation of the fit-for-TV guidance, and the expansion of Barb audience measurement to include ‘fit-for-TV programming, a watershed moment for the industry, when presenting at the IAB’s Connected TV Upfronts last week.
He said its importance cannot be overstated. “It means the platform mechanism used to deliver television to a TV screen is not important if the content can satisfy those three criteria. If it does, that content absolutely deserves to be measured alongside legacy television providers.”
Rich Brant, Senior Director of Advanced Television, UK and International at Vevo, has separately explained the problem that fit-for-TV can solve for the advertising industry, and why Vevo is such a a strong supporter. The bottom line is that it is becoming harder to find audiences on broadcast linear TV, but the audiences are out there, and some of that audience is watching broadcast quality content on video sharing platforms. Until now, that audience reach has not been acknowledged as television, however, or added to a TV buy.
For Vevo, this is all about YouTube, really, where the company delivers the same content that you see through the Vevo app or its FAST channels – places where it can be accepted as television. Brant believes YouTube on a connected TV can be considered a comparable environment to other big screen television endpoints.
“The mindset needs to shift when it comes to reaching people,” he explains. “Vevo has always had the mindset that you need to be available to audiences wherever they are, to make it convenient for them. And we do this on behalf of our artists too, because they want their content distributed as far and wide as possible.”
Vevo is in 55 markets, and in the UK it attracts nearly 30 million unique adult (16+) viewers per month across all its platforms, including 12 million uniques a month on the television set. In the 16-34 age group the figure is over 11 million
Our audience is on a par with the largest broadcasters,” Chris Wright declared at the Connected TV Upfronts, talking about the 16+ adult reach. His charts showed that Vevo outperforms broadcasters for monthly reach in the 16-34 demo. “There is no other all-premium ad-supported CTV provider that comes close to these numbers.”
Rich Brant says the industry needs to make the most of such reach opportunities, as viewing behaviours shift. “If you do not accept that the quality of the content should be the core principle [when deciding if content is a TV buy] you are going to miss out on big audience reach opportunities.”
He adds: “YouTube is on the television but not all YouTube is television. But there is content there that matches broadcast television standards and where advertisers can be happy that their ads sit around content that could be broadcasted. That should be counted as [television equivalent] reach, no matter how it is consumed.”
Brant wants the fit-for-TV Vevo content on YouTube to be treated like broadcast linear and BVOD – added to the television plan rather than treated as a digital buy. He thinks the fit-for-TV message does resonate with media agencies. “Generally, it has been well received. Television buyers just want to know what television is, these days. They have so many choices. Fit-for-TV says something can qualify to be on their TV line [on the media plan]; it says it is a legitimate option to put it there.”
If fit-for-TV takes off, Vevo will still be treated as part of a YouTube buy, via agency digital buying teams, as well [separately]. Brant points out that the media owner is used for partnership campaigns with different campaign objectives. YouTube would still be used for different parts of a campaign, working in the lower funnel with targeting and retargeting, for example.
For Brant, fit-for-TV is about mass reach and big branding messages. Vevo believes its content on YouTube can sit alongside other TV for this purpose. “It [the fit-for-TV classification and measurement] is a way to guarantee quality,” he says.
One of the other big messages from Vevo at the CTV Upfronts was the diversity of its audience, and not just the size. Because music is so entwined with culture, it speaks to different cultural groups, meaning the Vevo audience reflects the true diversity of society in any market.
Photo: Rich Brant, Senior Director of Advanced Television, UK and International at Vevo