Friday, January 20, 2012 at 11:05 am.

Why Vevo won’t ditch YouTube for Facebook

VevoVevo, the music video website owned by a few record labels (in partnership with YouTube/Google), has met with Facebook about the potential of switching away from YouTube as its video host, according to CNET’s Greg Sandoval.

It makes sense for Vevo to have these sorts of discussions — just as it makes sense for Apple, for instance, to talk to Microsoft about using Bing as its default search tool for the iPhone. Everyone talks to everyone in Silicon Valley. And the fact that these meetings are getting leaked may nudge YouTube to pay a little more attention to Vevo’s needs.

But I highly doubt that Vevo will dump YouTube.

Why? Because without YouTube — the world’s most popular video site and video search engine — Vevo would be a skeleton of its current self.

  • Among the 801 million Vevo videos viewed in the U.S. during December, 782 million — almost 98% — were viewed on Vevo’s YouTube channel, according to comScore. Only 18 million were viewed on Vevo.com.
  • Of its 53.7 million viewers, 53.5 million viewed at YouTube; 5.1 million viewed at Vevo, according to comScore. (Some, obviously, viewed at both.)

Sure, Facebook is a giant site, too, and I assume that Facebook already drives significant traffic/views to Vevo. Facebook can surely do more to promote Vevo, build it into Facebook services, etc., and might even guarantee Vevo certain revenue amounts to win its business.

But even then, it’s hard to see Facebook overtaking YouTube as the world’s biggest video site or search engine. I know I don’t go to Facebook (or even Vevo) to find and watch music videos — I go to YouTube. Given that Vevo is a video service first and foremost, it probably makes the most sense to stick with Google, unless it can extract an insane amount of money, power, and prominence from Facebook.

Update: Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff pings me on Twitter to note that Vevo’s mobile apps do “over ~200M” streams per month now, which comScore doesn’t measure as part of its web video stats. This reduces YouTube’s hold over Vevo’s total company-wide streams, and represents a big potential growth area for Vevo. But I still don’t think it’s going to ditch YouTube for Facebook.