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Here are the top 5 messages from platforms at NewFronts this year


By Lisa Lacy, n/a

May 8, 2017 | 6 min read

We’re halfway through NewFronts, the two-week extravaganza the IAB promised would include “presentations from media powerhouses and digital innovators featuring big name celebrities, innovative storytelling and groundbreaking video experiences”.

The Mindy Project is one of many, many original series discussed at NewFronts this year.

The Mindy Project is one of many, many original series discussed at NewFronts this year.

And while it has certainly included at least some of those elements, a few distinct themes have also emerged. Here are the top five messages from digital platforms to advertisers at NewFronts so far:

1. You can trust us

The New York Times kicked NewFronts off with a theme heard repeatedly thereafter: Brand safety.

In fact, according to a press release, the New York Times’ presentation, which was even called Truth + Dare, focused on “the relentless efforts put forth by Times journalists in pursuit of the truth”, as well as “the many ways Times journalists work to find the truth—from the front lines of the war on terror, to the inner workings of investigating the world’s most powerful governments”.

Bloomberg Media began its presentation later that day with a similar narrative, stressing its sterling reputation as a trustworthy provider of valuable content – and one that advertisers can clearly depend on. Conde Nast, too, did not miss a beat highlighting the trustworthiness of its 22 brands.

YouTube, on the other hand, apologized for not being safe enough and vowed to overcome its shortcomings, with chief executive Susan Wojcicki saying, “We apologize for letting some of you down…I’m here to say that we can and will do better.”

2. We’re going to reinvent live content

Both Bloomberg Media and Hulu had big announcements about their intent to produce live content – with the former partnering with Twitter to combine “user-generated breaking news video from citizens, curated and verified by Bloomberg editors, along with live video and reporting from Bloomberg journalists around the world”, and the latter focused on a new live TV offering that includes more than 50 live and on-demand sports, news, entertainment and kids’ channels.

In addition to Bloomberg, Twitter announced a slew of other partnerships for live content, including the WNBA and BuzzFeed.

3. Sleep with one eye open, TV

Conde Nast emphasized the quality of its video content in particular, drawing numerous parallels to its ability to compete with primetime TV – and it certainly wasn’t alone. Conde Nast’s TV-like line-up includes Vogue’s 73 Questions, which it said translates to a 1.6 Nielsen rating, and Wired’s Google Autocomplete, which translates to a 1.4 rating, as well as The Scene, which it said has more than 100m views each month on Facebook video. But the platform is also trying its hand at filmmaking with movies like the recently released Granite Mountain, as well as the Old Man and the Gun, which is in production with Robert Redford and Casey Affleck.

Hulu, too, has a huge lineup of original content, including a second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as Marvel Runaways, Future Man, The Looming Tower and, of course, the Mindy Project, and YouTube announced healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is the exclusive sponsor of a new online talent show, along with several other ad-funded original series.

Defy Media also has an expansive lineup of new content, with president Keith Richman noting traditional media is letting the collective us down in part because networks are led by an older disconnected generation.

Meanwhile, Refinery29 has actually partnered with television programmers TBS and TNT on two projects.

4. We have friends in high places

Multiple platforms are pulling out big guns from Hollywood to perhaps give original content some extra sizzle – or at least name recognition.

That includes Conde Nast and Hulu, who even have similar upcoming shows with notable personalities – Morgan Spurlock for Conde Nast and Sarah Silverman for Hulu touring the country to interview regular Americans and find out what we have in common.

YouTube, naturally, has plenty of its own star power with names like Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Ellen and Kevin Hart. And Refinery29, too, is tapping into female stars in particular like Willow Smith, Zosia Mamet, Rashida Jones, Evan Rachel and Sasheer Zamata.

5. We’re definitely working on VR

Conde Nast announced an as-of-yet unnamed VR incubator, as well as a scripted VR show called Invisible. Time Inc., too, reportedly flexed its VR muscle, which, per a press release, includes a VR documentary about climbing Mount Everest and an AR issue of Sports Illustrated. The New York Times also touted its capabilities in AR.

Please see here for more coverage from NewFronts.

Bloomberg Media Refinery29 Virtual Reality (VR)

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