Whether they like it or not the TV networks will need to make room for new vendor at this year’s Upfronts . . . Facebook. This will be Facebook’s first year at the big dance – up until now they’ve only participated in the IAB’s digital offshoot called the Newfronts.
During the Upfronts FB will be pitching its new premium video-ad service called Facebook Showcase. The platform features a range of original and long-form creator content, which brands can buy on an ‘upfront’ basis up to a year in advance. Advertisers will be able to deploy the usual set of target, tracking and attribution metrics to these video buys as they would on normal digital campaigns.
Reactions to FB joining the upfront party have been mixed. Brands are generally positive about the addition (because it gives them more choice), and seem to be willing to overlook FB’s past data privacy faux paus as long as Zuckerberg and team get it right moving forward. The TV networks are understandably nervous. Digital pubs and OTT streamers have been siphoning off eyeballs for years, and now FB is making a full frontal assault on their ad dollars.
I predict Facebook’s Upfront experiment will be successful this year, leading the way to even more digital pubs joining the party in subsequent years. Should be interesting to watch.