If Condé Nast Entertainment's first two NewFronts presentations were all about reinforcing the upscale quality of its content, the company's third go-round, which took place this afternoon in New York, narrowed the focus to content targeting a younger audience. With a hipper location in TriBeCa—CNE's previous NewFronts took place uptown on Park Avenue—and a mashup of top 40 hits on a loop, the event screamed "millennial." (Or, to be more precise, "very well-heeled millennial.")
The presentation kicked off with a short video asking various media buyers what the NewFronts would be like if millennials ran the show—one of the more detailed theories involved a Hunger Games-like competition between publishers followed by a party featuring Skrillex, Diplo and PewDiePie, all of which would be livestreamed on Meerkat, naturally—followed by a recap of CNE's growth from president Dawn Ostroff. (Highlights included the 4,000-plus pieces of content created by CNE since its inception, 2.5 billion views and last year's launch of an online digital video portal, The Scene.)
This year, CNE is set to create more than 2,500 digital videos, including a new stand-alone series called Tyler Zone that will air exclusively on The Scene. The Twilight Zone-themed comedy will star Community's Danny Pudi and is being presented by Party Over Here, Fox's development venture with The Lonely Island.
Having learned that millennials' viewing choices often depend not just on how they feel but on how they want to feel, CNE is grouping its series by emotion (or, technically, "mood state"). The "creative" category includes series like Vanity Fair's Improv Imagination and GQ's Best New Menswear Designer; "connected" focuses on relationship and celebrity content, such as Glamour's dating series The Perfect Match; the "escape" category includes lightweight fare like GQ's Most Expensivest Shit and its Glamour counterpart, Ladies Who Luxe; and finally, "inspired" comprises more serious content like Teen Vogue's Salaam Dunk, which follows a women's basketball team in Iraq.
The Scene, which launched eight months ago with a handful of partners including BuzzFeed and Major League Soccer, will grow to 40 channels this year with the addition of new partners like Billboard, Pitchfork, CollegeHumor and The Players' Tribune. CNE's own roster of branded channels will also be expanding with the launch of Vida Belleza, featuring programming aimed at Latina millennials.
Ostroff ended the presentation with yet another millennial-friendly programming announcement: CNE is getting in on virtual reality, which the audience was invited to experience immediately afterward via Google Cardboard. (If attendees experienced a bit of déjà vu, it's because The New York Times closed its NewFronts presentation in exactly the same manner just the day before.) Although the company offered few specific details about its VR plans, Ostroff did reveal that it is working with Jaunt Studios to debut two series—one scripted and the other unscripted—this year.