CES 2014: Vevo Says This Is the Stone Age of Online Storytelling

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“We’re at the stone age of creativity when it comes to what we can do on the internet,” observed Rio Caraeff, CEO of Vevo, speaking on a CES 2014 panel hosted by Variety.

All the video going online now could have been created for television before the internet took off, Caraeff said. The industry hasn’t gotten to the point yet of creating videos that are aware, either of the individual viewer or of the environment around that viewer. When online video makers are finally able to create a new type of video, one that customizes itself to the viewer, it will dramatically open up the world of storytelling.

Caraeff spoke about changes at Vevo, noting that while the company is usually associated with YouTube in people’s minds, it now gets between 30 and 40 percent of its U.S. plays outside of YouTube. That makes the Vevo brand healthier, he said.

Authenticity is key for Vevo, Caraeff added, as it presents artists expressing themselves and telling stories driven by music. “Music is primal; its an emotional response,” he said.

Also addressing the topic of authenticity, Jim Lanzone, president worldwide for CBS Interactive, said that creating online content has helped the CBS brand.

“The internet has helped CBS become more authentic and humanized,” Lanzone said. The network uses second screen content to accent its broadcast offerings or extend important events like the Grammys. CBS offers a Big Brother app that offers a 24/7 view of the housemates. While the app is expensive, he said plenty of fans pony up for it.

While online video is looked on as a poor relation to broadcast, Lanzone said his company is making serious money online.

“It’s a misnomer that things moving to the internet means less money,” Lanzone said.

Looking ahead, Lanzone noted that increasingly every topic is a tech topic, and every story is a tech story. Appliances have built-in computers, cars have video screens, and wearable tech is one of this year’s hot trends. That’s good news for digital storytellers, he said, since content will expand to find a home in all those places.

Vevo CBS

Rio Caraeff of Vevo, James De Julio of Tongal, and Jim Lanzone of CBS Interactive

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