For decades the format for the TV upfronts has remained static: Agency executives and brand marketers wait in line outside of Radio City Music Hall or Carnegie Hall to listen to network leaders declare that their channels are No. 1 and hear some stand-up by the networks' late-night hosts. It all culminates with a performance from a pop star.
Digital publishers have since emulated these presentations during the Digital Content NewFronts in a bid to steal ad dollars from TV. Instead of re-formatting their presentations to better reflect the technological advances and data capabilities they tout to clients, however, most of the NewFront presentations march in lock-step with TV.
But the multichannel video network Studio71 will shake things up this year. It won't ask industry executives to schlep to a venue somewhere in New York City, instead streaming its presentation online and posting it for on-demand viewing later.
"This year, we are celebrating the value of both time and place -- key ingredients in the DNA of the content we deliver," said Matt Seiler, president-brand solutions, Studio 71. "So our NewFront will be delivered in the same way we serve up some of the web's most popular content -- virtually."
It's important to note that plenty of TV networks and digital publishers live-stream their upfront and NewFront presentations for those unable to attend.
Studio71's decision to cut guests from the physical event entirely also speaks to how difficult it is for some of these digital publishers to generate excitement for their presentations.
More than 30 companies will host events promoting digital video to advertisers during the first two weeks in May. That doesn't include the cable TV upfronts that have been going on since March and the biggest TV events taking place the week of May 15. With calendars overflowing, many of the real decision-makers have begun skipping a bulk of the presentations, sending younger associates who are more familiar with the social influencers that take the stage.
Studio71 will donate the money it will save from not hosting a physical presentation to WE, an organization that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world.
The presentation will be made available starting on May 9 at 12 p.m. ET and remain available throughout the month. In the statement, Mr. Seiler promised appearances from The Rock, beauty guru Rachel Levin and Lilly Singh, who is known as Superwoman on YouTube.
Earlier this week Studio71 said it will allow for programmatic direct media buys with a guarantee of non-skippable inventory on its curated channels, a bid to attract marketers alarmed over ads appearing on questionable YouTube content.