5 Tech Brands that Made Noise at NewFronts This Week

Vevo, Maker Studios roll out programs

Headshot of Christopher Heine

The third annual Digital Content NewFronts gala has come to a close, and the show that opened April 28 was a long and fairly dizzying affair. As Adweek noted on Saturday, the first week saw 7 media and tech brands generating a ton of buzz at the New York confab.

So let's now review some of the bigger happenings since the show resumed on Monday.

Vevo, a DCNF veteran, revealed new programs, expanded its Certified product—which acknowledges musicians with 100 million views—and unveiled a Twitter Amplify partnership with the popular social blogging platform. First of all, its music-centric video series will involve co-productions with Milk Studios, Made, Legs Media, Rachel Zoe's The Zoe Report and Endemol. Vevo will host a Certified Live show in Los Angeles later this year with two of the biggest stars on its platform whom will be named later. That could be anyone from Katy Perry to Justin Bieber to Jennifer Lopez. 

Best bit: The youth-focused company claimed an audience of 250 million viewers monthly views, likely making it one of the top digital properties for targeting coveted Gen Y consumers. Seventy-four percent of its audience watches on mobile devices, Vevo execs said on stage. They also announced a so-called "native" in-video ad unit with brand partner Levi's in tow. As one example of its play, the jeans maker will appear within a new music video from Aloe Blacc's recent album Lift Your Spirit, teaming with XIX Recordings/Interscope Records.

After the presentation, Jonathan Carson, chief revenue officer at Vevo, talked about such brand integrations in the Instagram video below.

Maker Studios on Tuesday said it's debuting Maker.tv, a consumer-facing video hub that appears to take on mighty YouTube. Pepsi has partnered with the Disney-owned company for original branded content. 

It's a significant move by the Los Angeles-based player since it has relied on YouTube's platform to push its videos. And it can now generate revenue with licensed content. Maker also forged a deal with advertising holding company Omnicom that's reportedly worth eight figures.

Morgan Spurlock | Photo: Getty Images

Best bit: Documentary creator Morgan Spurlock, best know for Super Size Me, will work with Maker on a branded-entertainment channel called Smartish. Together, they'll also produce Consider the Source—featuring narratives about economic and environmental journeys—and How to Win at Life, a series based on Charles Duhigg’s bestseller The Power of Habit.

Spurlock has had a big NewFronts, also inking a deal with AOL for the latter's first long-form show, "Connected," which gives video cameras to regular folks so they can create vignettes.

PBS Digital Studios hosted its first NewFronts presentation at the Hudson Theatre in Manhattan, highlighting 30 online series and four new programs. It has partnered with Magnet Media to cultivate shows such as Bongo Bongo, which explores the history of English-language words. Another example: Food Buzz, offering viewers the news in the food blogosphere as well as the history, science and psychology behind a variety of food memes.

Best bit: Public television announced its first scripted digital show, dubbed Frankenstein, M.D., created by Pemberley Digital. The series utilizes the classic novel Frankenstein but reimagines the title character as Victoria Frankenstein, an eccentric talent determined to prove herself in the male-dominated fields of science and medicine.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau reported that 52 million Americans each month tune into premium digital content, up 15 percent year-over-year. The IAB teamed with GfK for their 2014 Original Digital Video study, revealing findings at their industry breakfast on Wednesday morning.

Best bit: The levels of people watching on smartphones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs have doubled since 2013. "They are watching predominantly at home," Sherrill Mane, IAB  svp of research, analytics and measurement, told Adweek. "That also tells you their whole notion of what video constitutes is being transformed whether it's viewed on a TV, laptop or mobile device." 

Corbis Entertainment, the 25-year-old Bill Gates-owned digital company, held an unofficial NewFronts event that was styled in the spirit of the show, managing to create a fairly intriguing item. It launched Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a platform for brands and media buyers to nab exclusive integration opportunities.

Best bit: BEN will offer more than 600 placement opportunities from its content providers, which include Netflix, Amazon, Discovery, Bravo, Sony Pictures and others.

Michelle Castillo contributed to this report.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.