YouTube revealed its plans for Brandcast, its annual NewFronts presentation, which will now be streamed by video rather than presented live at Radio City Music Hall. Also Thursday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced the rest of the NewFronts lineup, which for the first time includes Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok.
On Thursday, YouTube outlined the revamped plans to proceed with Brandcast, which is typically a glitzy affair in the heart of Manhattan. For obvious reasons, this year's event needs a virtual venue.
The NewFronts were supposed to occur live in April and May, but the IAB came up with a new plan to switch to a remote format. In the switch, IAB lost some of its most highly anticipated presenters when Amazon and Twitter backed out. Now, Facebook and TikTok fill those shoes—the first time the social media sites are participating. The IAB also said more companies could participate, and it was still in talks with the others that it did not name.
The digital ad platforms use NewFronts to sell their services to advertisers by showing off their video prowess. They highlight the shows, media partners and active fan bases on their sites.
YouTube is taking advantage of the all-video Brandcast by customizing the programming—tailoring the videos to each viewers’ tastes, according to Adam Stewart, YouTube’s VP of ad sales. The event is being called “Brandcast Delivered.”
Attendees choose what topics they want to hear about ahead of time through a questionnaire in the invitation. The options include comedy, entertainment, fashion, food and sports.
“You will experience YouTube the same way all the people who love YouTube experience it every day,” Stewart said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
YouTube and the other platforms will try to highlight the benefits of digital platforms compared to TV. That is a message they bring to advertisers every year at NewFronts, but this year it seems particularly resonant.
The coronavirus pandemic has hurt TV production schedules and shut down live sports, one of TV’s most attractive offerings. YouTube, and the rest, can dangle their access to continually refreshed videos pumped into the websites by users.
“It’s fresh content,” Stewart says. “It’s connected and it’s helpful for people right now.”
YouTube will also highlight the surge in viewership as people are cooped up in their homes. In particular, YouTube has been boasting about how more people watch YouTube on their TV screens, through apps and over-the-top TV devices.
In March, YouTube viewership on TV sets increased 80 percent year-over-year, Stewart says. Brandcast is now scheduled for June 25.
The IAB’s NewFronts will start online June 22. Hulu, Roku, Condé Nast, Vice Media Group, Vevo, Xandr, Samsung Ads and other digital publishers are on board, as well.
“Social distancing isn’t stopping industry leaders from coming together online to develop relationships that ignite collaboration, strategic discussion, and generate unique ideas to set the stage for business to thrive as the economy comes back to life,” Randall Rothenberg, IAB CEO, said in the announcement.