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Takeaways From The 2019 NewFronts – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Takeaways From The 2019 NewFronts

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Last week 17 media companies, agencies and even one eComm platform (Target) hosted NewFront presentations in NYC.  What started in 2014 as a “digital version of the TV Upfronts” looks like it’s on the decline, as the lines continue to blur between Linear and OTT TV.  In other words, as the traditional networks ramp up their cross-device digital offerings, there’s less of a need for the digital-only NewFronts.

With that as the backdrop, here are a few takeaways of this year’s event, compliments of Digiday.

  • Less Buzz, More Business: With the exception of a random George Clooney appearance at the Hulu presentation, there was noticeably less hoopla at this year’s meetings.  The presentations were more business-like, with no over-the-top spectacles like previous years’ Vice Media boxing matches between company employees and D-level celebrities.  (Yes, really happened.)
  • Blurring Lines: Traditional TV networks are pushing into the NewFronts harder than ever.  This year Viacom (who will also present in next week’s Upfronts), had a presentation slot for its newly acquired Pluto TV OTT service.  Expect to see more of this double dipping going forward.
  • Hello Frequency Capping: Right now there are far more OTT viewers than advertisers.  As a result when watching a show you tend to get bombarded with the same ads over and over.  To solve this problem more publishers, like Hulu this year, are implementing stringent f-caps.  In the short term this may decrease available ad inventory, but it’s a necessary measure.
  • Brand Safety 2.0: Brand safety, especially on social video sites like YouTube, is just as big of an issue today as it was last year.  Now competing publishers are capitalizing on this concern by offering brands a way to find YouTube’s audience (probably via MAID matching), and serving ads to those viewers on their own platform, which they can guarantee to be brand safe.

Next it’s the Upfronts turn to take over Manhattan.  It’ll be interesting to see how the traditional networks put a digital spin on their offerings.  More to come . . .


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