The annual NewFronts returned Monday, May 2, to put publishers' digital video pitches in front of ad buyers once again. This year the series of presentations, from companies spanning YouTube to Playboy, comes as TV shows renewed traction with advertisers and digital remains dogged by concerns over ad fraud. But marketers' appetite for digital video is still strong -- just as strong as publishers' interest in feeding it.
We'll be updating this page throughout the NewFronts, so come back often.
The final presentation of the 2016 NewFronts came courtesy of Mashable, which talked up the proprietary technology it uses to help decide what to publish, its plans for live video and its desire to incorporate marketers. Jeremy Barr
Once called NowThis News, Nowthis was early on several trends that have since taken over the digital media industry: mobile, mobile video and distributed, off-site publishing. The company, which began in 2012, and would probably like to capitalize on its prescience in the form of ad dollars.
"We're not in the hit-driven business," said Athan Stephanopoulos, the company's president, at its first NewFronts presentation May 12. "We're not looking for viral videos." That being said, NowThis brings in 1.6 billion video views a month, a big number.
Former BuzzFeed CRO Andy Wiedlin also spoke at the presentation, held at the New Museum in SoHo. "You have an opportunity to tell great stories, to pimp less, and to not suck so much," he told the crowd. Tina Exarhos, who recently joined NowThis as CMO, compared the company to her former employer, MTV. "It really reminds me of the early days of MTV, which I can tell you about later over drinks," she said. J.B.
Still glowing from its recent acquisition by Verizon and Hearst, Complex Media presented to advertisers and agency folks in a slightly humid room on the 39th floor of the Time-Life Building. The big news was the announcement of a two-day-long festival called ComplexCon, to be held in California in November. The singer Pharrell will chair the event's host committee.
Complex CEO Rich Antoniello said the company is pursuing an aggressive expansion in video, including live video. "If anyone does it, we're going to fucking do it bigger and better than any of them," he said, calling the company "a gloriously beautiful work in progress." Complex founder and fashion designer Marc Ecko, assessing the company's recent progress, said: "Everything we said we were going to do last year, we did and more." J.B.
The popular YouTube network majority owned by AT&T and the Chernin Group helped kick of week two of the 2016 NewFronts on Monday, May 9, by announcing a slight rebranding, to Fullscreen Media, and a reorganization into three groups: a video-creator network, where the company began; Fullscreen Entertainment, to house its new streaming-video subscription service and other operations; and Fullscreen Brandworks, to work for marketers seeking a "post-TV audience," as the company put it. Nat Ives
National Geographic Partners
Making its first NewFronts presentation since 21st Century Fox and National Geographic formed the joint venture last fall, National Geographic Partners announced 10 digital short series such as "Before Mars," a warm-up to the scripted TV series "Mars" that's scheduled for November; an Instagram series called "Moving Pictures" featuring photographers on shoots; and plans for a virtual reality studio, whose activities will also help promote "Mars." N.I.
Last year's Vice NewFront was a must-attend affair. The big question was whether Vice would finally announce the TV network that had been rumored for many months. It didn't, but that non-announcement was news in and of itself. Since last year's presentation, of course, Vice did start a cable channel, Viceland, taking over the H2 Network.
The 2016 Vice NewFront on Friday, May 6, was all about the success of that channel in attracting far younger viewers than before (albeit with a track record only a few months long and small audience numbers). "We are bringing millennials back to TV," CEO Shane Smith told the crowd, before adding: "I don't know why I'm so excited about that."
Vice, he said, will create up to 20 TV channels around the world. He also announced plans for six new areas on the Vice website for subjects such as health and money. Then, in true Vice fashion, he switched from media executive to rocker, and sang lead vocals on the Sham 69 song "If The Kids Are United." J.B.
During its event on day four of the 2016 Digital Content NewFronts, YouTube pitched a new product to advertisers designed to meet the challenge of identifying viral videos before they take off. Breakout Videos packages the hottest and fastest-rising videos on YouTube, CEO Susan Wojcicki told ad buyers. The event also featured news and appearances from more than 100 YouTube stars, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Big Bird, on hand to promote the new Sesame Studios channel on YouTube.
This being the 2016 NewFronts, there were also big promises about virtual reality. "We have more 360-degree and VR content than any platform in the world and in fact you can watch every single video on YouTube with a VR headset," Ms. Wojcicki said. Jeanine Poggi
There was a line down the block for PopSugar's Wednesday presentation, which was vibrant and colorful, and featured an even mix of sizzle reels and quick talks by the female-focused digital media company's show hosts and talent. "Our core beliefs are the same today as they were in our first year," said founder Lisa Sugar.
The company announced a bunch of new shows and partnerships, and a documentary series called "PopDocs" sponsored by Chevrolet.
David Grant, PopSugar Studios president, acknowledged that a lot of media companies use the NewFronts every year to tout shows that either don't get made or don't get renewed, and was sure to mention that PopSugar is renewing its entire slate of existing franchise shows.
On the content marketing side, the company announced PopSugar Motion, which will make available the company's editorial tool kit to brands for the first time. J.B.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media
Hearst closed out day 3 of the NewFronts on Wednesday with promises of Facebook Live video series, Snapchat expertise and a performance by Channing Tatum and his "Magic Mike Live" Vegas revue. Photos and other details important to ad buyers here. J.B.
So what if Ellen DeGeneres wasn't part of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's official agenda for the Digital Content NewFronts? She's already got Ellentube, her YouTube page, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" website, a big social media following and the digital game "Heads Up!" -- not to mention the visibility of a daytime TV show every weekday. So she showed up with her own pitch on Wednesday, announcing Ellen Digital Network, backed by Warner Bros. TV Group and enlisting talent from the likes of social media star Tyler Oakley. Here's the full story. J.P.
As a streaming service owned by the old-school TV powers, Hulu has always stood out at the NewFronts, as both a premium player and something quite distinct from a YouTube network or magazine publisher trying to move into digital video. At its NewFront presentation at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, executives described plans to improve the ad experience and help marketers better measure the effectiveness of their media buys on over-the-top devices.
It also said it has partnered with BrightLine to deliver the first interactive advertising built specifically for connected TVs. Havas Media will be the exclusive charter agency for the new product, which will debut this summer. J.P.
In a NewFronts year where it was hard to find an event that didn't mention virtual reality, Yahoo wasn't going there. Instead the company is focusing on a "simplified" video agenda that includes live video (another favorite of everyone in 2016) and fourt subjects: sports, finance, news and lifestyle. Yahoo made its case to ad buyers in a private meeting, departing from the big show of 2015 as well as big promises like 18 new original series, the most prominent of which never arrived.
Yahoo Live will be a focal point moving forward for the company, said Lisa Utzschneider, chief revenue officer at Yahoo, ahead of the no-press-allowed pitch. "It's an important bet we're making," she said. "And the ability to stream that content, whether on the smartphone or on the desktop, is equally important."
What the company gives up in complexity, however, it aims to add in volume, promising more video than ever. George Slefo