NewFronts Expands to 33 Presenters, but Microsoft Won’t Be Among Them

Event's founding partner has moved away from original content

Due to demand for slots during the NewFronts, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has added a day to its schedule to accommodate a total of 33 presenters.

The 2015 event will take place in New York from April 27 through May 7. The updated schedule, unveiled today at the IAB Annual Leadership Conference in Phoenix, features 10 new presenters: Beatport, Bloomberg Media, Collective Digital Studio, Daily, DEFY Media, Endemol Beyond, LIN Digital, StyleHaul, and Whistle Sports Network.

The Digital Content NewFronts began in 2012 as a platform for showcasing original digital content to advertisers, similar to TV's Upfront presentations. The industry has grown considerably since then. In the first half of last year alone, online video brought in $1.5 billion dollars in ad revenue.

"Online video is something where people spend their immediate time," said Anna Bager, svp of mobile and video at IAB. "There's a steady flow of new content coming out on this platform, which is being used to monetize companies. The huge success of online video will continue to rise."

AOL, DigitasLBi, Google (YouTube), Hulu, Microsoft and Yahoo were the founding partners of the New York City event. However, Microsoft will not present this year.

The software giant has made a notable shift to focus on online video distribution and promotion, shuttering Xbox Entertainment Studios and effectively halting its original programming. Instead, it has refocused on partnering with other online video publishers like AOL, making content available on MSN and MSN Apps, and working on ad formats that can be featured across its platforms MSN, Skype, Xbox and Windows.

A representative said that the company felt that after talking with the IAB and other NewFronts founding partners, it "simply does not make business sense" to be included on a slate that highlights original content, one of the tenets of the NewFronts.

IAB President Randall Rothenberg noted that although Microsoft will not present this year, the company was looking at other ways to participate.

"There is nothing more dynamic than the digital ad business and the rate at which things change and how quickly this industry must adapt," Rothenberg said. "Collectively, Microsoft, the founding partners and the IAB team all came to the same conclusion: The Digital Content NewFronts are focused exclusively on original video content, a business model Microsoft has evolved away from. We have all appreciated and valued Microsoft's hard work in launching and building the NewFronts with all of us, but understand this difficult decision they have made."

Here's a peek at this year's schedule: