Vevo (Finally) Launches Free iPad App

At long last, Bieber Fever has made its way onto the iPad.

Today (Dec. 15), Vevo has launched a free application for the iPad, marking the first time thousands of music videos will be available for streaming on the device.

The one-year-old Vevo is a joint venture among Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and investor Abu Dhabi Media Company. The site, which features videos from artists such as Justin Bieber (who has generated a stunning 410 million views for his hit “Baby”), Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, also has major backing from Google—and is the default video channel on YouTube.

But while an Apple-built app for YouTube has been available on the iPad since it launched last April, Vevo—and therefore, most major music videos–was left out. That represents a serious void, considering over 13 million iPads are expected to be sold in 2010, according to eMarketer.

“This is huge,” said David Kohl, Vevo’s evp, sales and customer operations. “This is the first time consumers will have access to videos on a tablet device. We estimate that the app will have multiple million downloads relatively quickly.”

That has been the case with Vevo’s iPhone app, which reached 1 million downloads in its first week on the market last summer. But Kohl emphasized that for the iPad, Vevo utilized a very different design rather than simply repurposing its popular iPhone app.

“Every single app we create has to be optimized for that device,” said Kohl. “The iPad is a completely different experience. People watch more videos. They are more engaged.”

Those differences warrant a different ad approach, contends Kohl. Thus, Vevo has created five custom iPad ad units, including placements that run during video load times and background ads, which are persistent during some video sessions.

Kohl’s team has signed on a slew of top brands to serve as charter sponsors:  McDonald’s, Microsoft’s Bing, Wrigley, Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu Rum and State Farm.

Starting in the first half of 2011, Vevo plans to target local advertisers by leveraging the iPad’s built-in, location-recognition technology. Users will be able to track which videos are most popular in their local area. Kohl said theoretically that local car dealers could run targeted local video ads on the app.

Also next year, Vevo is expected to begin streaming live concerts on its new app. Said Kohl: “That is cool on the iPhone. It’s going to be phenomenal on the iPad.”