The NewFronts are supposed to be about selling advertising, a way for digital publishers such as Hulu, AOL and YouTube to promote their upcoming web series to rooms packed with media buyers. But that didn't stop Creative Artists Agency, which doesn't sell ad time, from hosting a NewFront of its own in New York on Wednesday to promote digital projects coming from its clients.
David Freeman, co-head of brand coverage at CAA, said afterward that the digital landscape is an important part of the firm's clients' careers, so the company wanted to "take a minute out of this intense week to talk about what our clients are up to." While CAA doesn't outright sell advertising in the shows that its clients are involved in, Mr. Freeman said, it has on occasion connected marketers with one of its clients' shows and then worked on finding a distribution platform such as AOL or YouTube.
The presentation featured actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who, along with her production company Pretty Matches Productions, is introducing a web series on AOL called "City.Ballet," focusing on the lives of ballet dancers. The series will include twelve episodes running three minutes to six minutes each.
The event also promoted "Dropping the Soap," a soap-opera series starring Jane Lynch that will run on Alloy; "Now Eat This," an AOL series about Rocco DiSpirito's attempt to learn healthy Italian cooking from Italian mothers; and "Second Chances," an AOL series about women overcoming physical, emotional and mental obstacles, from Ryan Seacrest Productions and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracy Anderson. (Ms. Paltrow and Ms. Anderson are not CAA clients, but Ryan Seacrest Productions is.)
The event was hosted in partnership with Hollywood digital studio Dolphin Digital Media, which itself introduced two scripted digital shows: "In Bloom," a series about the high school days of a brother-and-sister music group, and "South Beach," a soap opera about colliding record labels in Miami.
And YouTube personality Kevin Wu was on hand to show off his KevJumba YouTube channel and describe five series in production in genres such as romance, action and family. He pitched opportunities for brand partnerships that include pre rolls, channel integration, branded content and product placement.