If you were expecting a quiet Columbus Day holiday, here’s a slight curve ball. VideoInk has learned that music video and programming platform Vevo has begun a major reorg only six months into new CEO Erik Huggers’ tenure with the company. Over the last few weeks, Vevo has let go of roughly a dozen employees from the product and tech teams, including chief product officer David Rice. Also part of the restructuring, Doug McVehil, who served as head of content since 2011, is being replaced by BBC/Radio 1 vet Andy Parfitt, who is set to start next week.
A rep for Vevo confirmed the personnel changes, but wouldn’t comment on the exact number of employees departing the company. Rice’s team will now report in to interim chief technology officer Alex Nunes. According to a company source, there will continue to be resources and budgets made available to both the content and the tech teams to innovate and create meaningful programming.
“We’re actively looking at permanent executives for both roles, but this ensures we continue to have strong leadership during this period so we can find the absolutely best possible candidate and successfully execute on our plans,”said the Vevo rep.
Parfitt, the most recent addition to the company, had previously worked with Huggers at the BBC. Parfitt held various posts at BBC for over 30 years, 13 of which were spent at Radio 1. He left in 2011 and joined ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi as executive director of talent for Europe, the Middle East and Africa the following October. Since departing Saatchi & Saatchi in July 2013, he’s served as chairman of the National Foundation for Youth Music and non-executive director of Services Sound and Vision Corporation and founded Enlightened Leadership Ltd., which coaches execs for senior positions.
Parfitt was announced as Vevo’s new interim head of content and programming in an internal memo distributed late last week.
“Content and programming is the lifeblood of Vevo,” said Huggers in the memo. “The development and support of our content and programming organization continues to be a top priority for me and for the organization overall. The addition of Andy will add more velocity to out efforts to further differentiate in these areas for the future.” Parfitt held various posts at BBC for over 30 years, 13 of which were spent at Radio 1 until 2011.
Historically, YouTube, Sony Music and Universal Music Group-backed Vevo has teetered on and off of the sales block. With companies like Pandora and Spotify stepping into the original programming space, this could be a make or break window for the five year old video company, as well as a handful of other indirect competitors in the space (Maker Studios, Fullscreen, AOL, Yahoo).
Alhough Vevo’s traffic has been declining according to SimilarWeb, the company’s owned and operated site is a poor indicator of Vevo’s overall business given that a majority of its traffic (and revenue) is generated on YouTube. Over the last 30 days, Vevo’s YouTube channel has seen nearly 10 million video views according to SocialBlade, and that number doesn’t include its artist branded Vevo channels such as RihannaVevo, which has 168 million views in the same time frame.
Vevo’s original programming has also struggled to capture meaningful audience, although the recent show “YourShot,” sponsored by 7Up and featuring Tiesto, has garnered a middling number of views.
Fresh blood, and a clear vision of how to strengthen Vevo’s brand amongst consumers as well as its traction in programming and product seem to be exactly what the Dr.(Feelgood) ordered.