Seventeen NewFronts and a few months later, it’s fair to say that the market for original Web video series has been quiet. The TV upfront, while not spectacular, was once again solid. Tales of dollars being pulled out of TV budgets are fading and the flow of industry open letters has stopped. “I have not heard much at all," said Andrea Kerr Redniss, chief activation officer, Media Storm. "The digital marketplace is just not at a point where widespread upfronts are required across most sites." "I'm not surprised," said a top digital buyer. "I think the whole thing is an overblown, overhyped idea. As I have said many times, digital is not bought the same way as TV." But wait, there’s hope. AOL has sold at least seven of its original shows the company introduced during its NewFront last May, including a recent deal with Citi for the Sarah Jessica Parker-helmed documentary City Ballet. AmEx committed to sponsoring the business-centric Funded during AOL’s NewFront last May. Since then, Disney has nabbed the Hank Azaria project Fatherhood; Chase has grabbed Taste Makers; and Verizon has committed to sponsor Future Stars Here. Per sources, AOL has brought in a few tens of millions following its NewFront as talks with brands continue on several yet-to-debut series, with most individual deals in the seven-figure range.
Barry Blumberg is the evp of Alloy Digital as well as the president of Smosh, the biggest YouTube channel in terms of subscribers. The exec has a long history in animation, previously serving as president, Walt Disney Television Animation and evp of Harvey Entertainment. In the past year or so, Blumberg has helped broaden the audience for Smosh while helping steward the launch of Shut Up Cartoons, one of the more successful funded YouTube channels; the network just exceeded 1 million subscribers and 100 million views. He chatted with Adweek’s Videowatch about the state of YouTube’s channel partnerships, the quiet movement among creators to push away from the Google-owned video platform, and the challenges of programming 24/7 on an ever growing number of social channels.