Vevo Revamps for Facebook Age, Adds Sales Talent

Vevo has redesigned its site to increase time spent and capture more social activity. Starting today visitors are asked to log in using Facebook, in return for which they are promised a “personalized, social, long-play viewing experience.”

Additionally, the company has hired a national sales leader. Hal Trencher is a former VP at Yahoo, having overseen teams selling music, entertainment, sports, and Hispanic audiences. He’ll be based in New York and oversee Vevo sales activity in New York, L.A., Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco.

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Vevo is a joint venture of Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media, with licensing involvement from EMI. Though its DNA is not in advertising, the company has had considerable sales success. It claims to have signed more than 625 brand marketing partners since its 2009 launch, including Chevrolet, Disney, McDonald’s, Starburst and Unilever.

But there are signs Vevo’s sales management is still finding its legs, and Trencher’s hire may be intended to speed that process. For instance, last month it pitched sponsorships of an interview between President Obama and Jay-Z, but the event never took place. Before it was canceled, a sales deck promised – some might say over-promised – corporate brands high exposure via the White House event, including in-person attendance and mentions in press materials.

Yet Vevo has displayed increasing sales sophistication as well. As a footnote to its other announcements today, it unveiled American Express as the U.S. sponsor of its new app for Xbox.

When visitors link their social media accounts using Vevo’s Facebook app, they grant permission to have their activity broadcast on the social network – which will in turn drive traffic from friends and family back to the music video site. And Vevo will create personalized “Facebook playlists” for users based on artists and music a person “likes” and shares on the social site.

But the site’s redesign – spanning Vevo.com as well as iPhone and Android apps – is not only about social integration. It also allows users to scan their iTunes library to create matching music video playlists. In addition, Vevo has partnered with The Echo Nest, a builder of music discovery applications.

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