Facebook Is Planning a Video Sales Event Right Before the NewFronts

Facebook Is Planning a Video Sales Event Right Before the NewFronts

In a few weeks, the advertising industry will be bombarded by more than 30 different sales presentations by Web video purveyors during the nearly two-week-long NewFronts in New York. A few select top agencies and advertisers may now be hearing out one more pitch a few days early.

That’s because Facebook is planning to host its own event in New York on April 22, less than a week before the start of the NewFronts, which are the Web’s answer to the TV industry’s upfronts. At the presentation, to be held at Facebook’s offices in Astor Place, the company will provide an overview on its strategy for Web video content and advertising, said people familiar with the matter.

Facebook will use the event to provide specifics on “Anthology,” the company’s new initiative centered around partners creating branded entertainment video content that can be distributed as paid advertising across the social network, according to people familiar with the plans. Several of Facebook’s Anthology partners will deliver presentations at the gathering, the people said, providing ad agencies and marketers with their first look at how Facebook plans to uniquely incorporate brand messages into videos on the site.

It would seem that Facebook’s timing — just before YouTube, AOL , Yahoo and other big players in Web video host the NewFronts — is no accident. It’s joining a long list of digital companies (along with traditional media firms like Conde Nast and Time Inc.) that have been hosting events for the past couple of years in hopes of convincing more advertisers to shift budgets away from television to Web video.

Facebook has never participated in the NewFronts, mostly because it has never had much in the way of original Web video content. And until fairly recently, Facebook had mostly hosted YouTube video content. But over the past year or so, Facebook has started automatically playing video in users’ news feeds, and has begun courting YouTube stars and big media companies, urging them to post more content to Facebook’s proprietary video player.

Today, Facebook says it generates 3 billion video views a day. And in the eyes of many in the ad community, it’s a sleeping giant in the battle for Web video ad spending.


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