Recapping the 2015 NewFronts & The Future of Digital Video

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The below blog post is a first-person account from 360i’s SVP of NY Media & Account Management. In this post, Michael recaps his experience at the 2015 NewFronts and dives into some media observations in the digital video space.

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As I look back on the 2015 NewFronts (and beyond the splendor that was my being 10 feet from football star Rob Gronkowski), I must say I’m pretty proud of our industry; we’ve come a long way.

In the beginning, it was all about addressing the hurdles that were thrown at digital video and content. Some challenges we faced:

  • “You can’t measure it like TV…or really measure it at all”
  • “You need an eGRP”
  • “The content will never be as good as broadcast”
  • “It’s too expensive”
  • “Branded content will be too hard to execute”
  • “Consumption won’t make it scalable for brands”

While the traditional TV model remains a dominant force, digital video finally has an equal seat at the “planning table.” And as its measurement capabilities continue to grow (think Nielsen, Comscore, etc.), along with its targeting range (from the most niche to mass reach), the space continues to grow in popularity while increasingly moving toward being bought programmatically and across devices and platforms.

When people think about the TV UpFronts, it was always a star-studded event. The NewFronts were smart to piggyback on that model. Each presentation this year was a who’s who of A-list movie and TV stars, athletes, musicians, comedians and online personalities. Beyond just being cool, it shows the investments that the likes of Hulu, AOL, Yahoo, and other platforms and networks have made in creating the engaging content that is the foundation of digital video.

Here are the primary takeaways from this year’s NewFronts:

All About Audience & Content
No matter the sizzle of the events or endless supply of chatchkies, make no mistake, content is king here. And partnerships to develop this content are flourishing: Yahoo and Simons Cowell’s new International DJ show, AOL’s partnership with NBCU, the explosion of YouTube celebrities and Hulu’s deal with Seinfeld. The ability to develop audiences at scale through content and consumption offers brands and agencies opportunities that did not exist a short time ago.

The Reinvention of the Portals
For so many years, our marketing efforts were focused on the homepage and email, but it became apparent that these business models needed to evolve with the changing landscape, and they needed to do it fast.

For Ad Tech fanatics, AOL and Yahoo create cross channel platforms by way of product development and acquisitions, utilizing their unique data and measurement capabilities to allow for aggregations, efficiencies and audience buying. Embedded into this complex platform now is a vast array of content and programming. Although some challenges remain, there is huge potential for these offerings, due to their uniqueness.

Consumption Matters
We often hear how fragmentation is making the ecosystem blind with complexity. This is true, and it’s the reality. What gets me up and into work every morning is the idea that we can continue to move the industry toward a model that focuses on the individual as part of our broader media efforts. The NewFronts came from the realization that seismic shifts were happening across the media landscape, and now we have a chance to work towards living within this complexity, rather than letting it hinder our progress.

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Digital video is a real and immediate opportunity for agencies and brands. What’s available to the marketplace can meet any budget size, vertical, KPI, ROI or any other acronym we have. The NewFronts challenge us to turn complexity into action, a transition only possible if rooted in an evolving learning agenda where we can maximize  today’s successes while keeping  an eye out for what’s next.

Cover photo via Video Ink.

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