15 of the Most Memorable Moments From This Year’s NewFronts

Some were huge, some were surprising, and some were just odd

For the past two weeks, a dozen Adweek reporters and editors have been running around New York City covering 35 different NewFront events. From early morning breakfast discussions to late-night concerts, the presentations are meant to get media buyers and advertisers interested in hundreds of video offerings from dozens of new (and old) media companies.

We asked our staffers to share some of their takeaways on the bigger or more memorable events: 

YouTube's Brandcast: After enticing marketers last year with a performance from Pharrell, YouTube roped in Bruno Mars and Snoop Dogg for this year's massive event at Madison Square Garden. Despite the elaborate setup, the company didn't announce any real news and instead relied on personalities like Grace Helbig and John Green to sell marketers on its creator and advertising programs. The takeaway: YouTube's got massive millennial reach. Aside from that, three Adweek staffers left the event wondering what it was we were supposed to have learned. –Lauren Johson

Nat Geo: I was truly amazed by the number of followers Nat Geo has on Instagram (18 million), and they served very tasty breakfast sandwiches. –Brian Flood

Hulu: Without a doubt, Hulu was the big fish in the NewFronts pond. There was a swagger and star power to their presentation that was unmatched by any of the other NewFronts. Having Jerry Seinfeld on stage to announce Hulu's Seinfeld deal, capping off a star-studded presentation that featured the likes of J.J. Abrams, Amy Poehler and James Franco, was an unrivaled mic drop moment. –Jason Lynch

Yahoo: A lot of people are impressed with Yahoo's ad technology coming together quickly—Flurry, BrightRoll, Gemini and Tumblr. These are the parts that will make video advertising targetable, and it's a compelling offering, going against platform's like AOL One and Facebook. Where Yahoo has to make upgrades is the kind of content that will draw a big audience. If done well, Ultimate DJ could be that hit. I don't know if Michelle Rodriguez driving cars will be, but it could be enough to draw some auto dollars. In any case, Yahoo at least had a packed NewFront, filling a Lincoln Center theater, and it had DJ Steve Aoki, who spun at the party. So now it just needs to sell those shows and its in-house talent. –Garett Sloane

Kin Community: It was early, dark and they made me exercise (it was at a SoulCycle) but the target demo clearly loved it. –Brian Flood

Mode: One year after rebranding as Mode Media, the publisher formerly known as Glam Media took over Milk Studios to sell media buyers on its new Facebook-like social platform that folds all of its content into one place. Founder and CEO Samir Arora said that the platform launched with 100,000 pieces of content, but it still seems like a risky move, given the problems that publishers are having getting people to find editorial content on their own. –Lauren Johnson

Fullscreen: This one seemed at first to be a low-key event, no massive stage, and just some digital video and talent to show off. Then Fullscreen brought in Jack and Jack and a cadre of teen girls. If you don't know Jack and Jack, they are the One Direction of the Vine world. They're a triple threat—young, socially unstoppable and infinitely marketable. This is what Fullscreen is relying on with its message that TV is dead, so start watching Snapchat. Pairing talent like these kids or Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas with advertisers is a pretty effective formula, and Fullscreen's got it quite nailed. Not surprisingly, Grier and Dallas' new movie The Outfield trended right after premiering its trailer at this NewFront. –Garett Sloane

Discovery Digital Networks: Discovery knows its way around an Upfront, and in many ways this one seemed like a scaled-down version of Discovery's usual grand Upfront presentations. Instead of Oprah and the Cake Boss, this one had YouTube stars like Louis Cole and Philip DeFranco. But its message came through loud and clear, and more than most other companies at NewFronts, it clearly has a solid grasp on millenials and the kind of content they crave. –Jason Lynch

Medialink: It felt like the Bar Mitzvah cocktail hour for a media exec's son, only in the morning. And I mean that in a good way. –Brian Flood

HealthiNation: This was so low-key that media buyers may have forgotten why they were at a NewFronts presentation. The video startup's event was more of a Cinco de Mayo party than an ad pitch, complete with molcajetes as gifts. –Lauren Johnson

VevoIt's hard to compete with the music industry if you're looking for a crowd, and Vevo had the advantage. It brought out upcoming pop stars like Tori Kelly, Halsey and Magic, all acts the younger generation knows well. The NewFront was meant to replicate the fan experience, so it ran just like a concert, standing room only. Vevo also has an advantage with brands now that it launched a branded content studio, so it can match musical talent with advertisers for original video projects. –Garett Sloane

TheStreet: The highlight for me was either the new show called Financial Flex, which will use social media to crowdsource someone in need of a financial makeover, or it was the "swine candy"—a crystallized, sugary bacon snack. Can't decide. –Brian Flood

PopSugar: PopSugar pulled out the bells and whistles to show media buyers how they get millennials, which included lots of freebies reminiscent of an episode of Oprah's Favorite Things. During the presentation, a small bag of beauty products was taped under each chair to announce a new weekly series called PopSugar Beauty Junkie. To the media in the room, it seemed like a tiny bribe to win over advertisers, but trust me—you've never seen ad execs jump up so fast to look under their seats. –Lauren Johnson

Time Warner Cable Digital and friends: Not even the people in charge of this NewFront—a summit for Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and Cablevision to talk about digital initiatives—were sure what its proper name was (in the end, the consensus was Epic Connections), and the presentation itself was also short on splashy announcements. While the various execs who spoke sounded confident about cable's future, they also seemed to be pleading with buyers not to be cast aside as the industry evolves. –Jason Lynch

News Corp.This classic print company is taking the core of its business, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, and becoming a network of digital brands. It now runs Storyful, a viral video licensing platform, the Post Digital Studio, Page Six, and a new entity called IAF, the Internet Action Force. This is a grouping of varied but largely complementary ventures, and News Corp. does have a compelling journalism story to tell. It relies on that history to invoke a sense of integrity and standards into the work. So even Storyful has a team of journalists ensuring that the day's top viral video isn't a hoax, or worse, before negotiating the rights. The digital studio is producing shows and documentaries that might even feel at home on a TV screen. –Garett Sloane