POV: NewFronts 2018
Founded by AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft and Yahoo in 2012, the NewFronts, which took place in New York City from 30th April- 4th May this year, is an annual week in the US ad calendar that aims to showcase the best digital content and content creators to brands and their media / marketing agencies.
Details and Implications:
Here are the highlights from this year’s NewFronts:
YouTube Brandcast: YouTube not only focused on new content announcements but also showcased tweaks to existing products. YouTube reminded the audience of its recent transparency report and how the platform flags and manages inappropriate content and the progress it has made in overcoming noted brand safety challenges over the past year with the use of AI and human review. Enhanced targeting options were announced including light TV viewer segments, Nielsen Catalina Solutions shopper data targeting and TrueView for Action – aimed at allowing brands to buy YouTube against specific performance metrics.
Conde Nast: With 12 billion digital video views in 2017 and the announcement of 35 returning series and 60 new pilots under development for this year, Conde Nast is taking its content game to a whole new level. For advertisers, Conde Nast Prime allows access to the publisher’s top YouTube inventory, mimicking Google Preferred. In addition, new OTT channels for Wired, GQ and Bon Appetit are due to launch later this year and early next year on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
ESPN’s Debut: ESPN’s NewFront debut focused on its SportsCenter franchise, which has been re-imagined and re-branded for younger, mobile-first, short-form content preferring audiences. ESPN has taken a bet on consumers’ interest for custom content on Twitter with the launch of three new Twitter X ESPN shows and SportsCenter LIVE, which leverages Twitter Moments.
HULU: Six billion hours watched in 2017. Time spent increased by 60% and over 20 million subscribers. Growth and scale was a big focus at this year’s Hulu NewFront event. With the discussion of Live TV becoming on-demand, new HULU features include live TV-to-mobile user experiences, push notifications for live events, ability to download and play-back shows. For advertisers, HULU ad propositions include only paying for 100% ad completion and partnerships in the measurement space to tie viewership back to sales. Furthermore, HULU will be launching the ability to dynamically insert ads within Live TV, targeted towards individual viewers.
Twitter: Continuing with its premium content offerings and video partnerships, Twitter announced the launch of its #HereWeAre content series championing women, feminism and gender equality. It also showcased Live Brand Studio to offer advertisers adaptive marketing solutions, live creative adjustments and insights for live-based airing, showing just how nimble brands need to be in the ‘Live’ space.
The NewFronts was designed as the digital answer to Upfronts but while Upfronts are focused on teasing the supply/demand marketplace to buy inventory, the NewFronts is more strategic and not tied to a specific timeline. Whilst not as big as in previous years, the event still draws a crowd to see the future direction of digital content creation.