Studio71 is focusing on a new platform to reach its always-online audience: podcasts.
The multichannel network, best known for partnering with creator heavyweights across platforms like YouTube and Instagram, kicked off its fifth NewFronts presentation this year, held at the AXA Equitable Center, with the release of OHoney, a new influencer-hosted podcast scheduled for this June. The podcast, hosted by Amanda Cerny and Sommer Ray, will center on the duo and a roster of to-be-announced guests, where they’ll be doling out love advice to listeners, and offering their best advice for surviving millennial relationships.
The network is also partnering with Group Chat, a podcast hosted by tech and fashion entrepreneurs Chris “Drama” Pfaff, along with Dee and Anand Murthy, which offers the team’s insights into all things business and culture.
Fittingly, the NewFronts presentation was studded with cameos from its influencer partners, including Lilly Singh, Mike Holston, Michelle Khare and Smosh, whose cast took the stage to say that their eight YouTube channels–with 45 million subscribers and 15 billion lifetime views–would be joining the Studio71 lineup. The creators’ flagship series Every [Blank] Ever and VS will be joined by new sketches and formats, continuing their reign as one of YouTube’s staple sketch comedy channels.
This year’s presentation also saw Studio71 continue stressing its ongoing commitment to brand safety, which seems to be an ideal that user-generated content portals like YouTube strive to hit but keep falling short.
“The world of media isn’t all fun and games,” said Reza Izad, CEO and co-founder of Studio71. “[Brand safety] was the theme in 2017, and we’re still talking about it, because advertisers are still running in non-brand safe environments.”
Last year, the company released Context, its brand safety product that mines all of Studio71’s library video content to cut out content that’s less than brand safe. Studio71 explained the product as a four-part process, which involves human moderators and machine learning to review every part of a video upload—including text tags, descriptions, visuals and more—to weed out videos that might contain anything from nudity and drugs to profanity, hate speech or extreme political views.
The company said that Context’s latest update will continually monitor and remove comments that might be inappropriate, a measure that proved to be sorely needed following February’s YouTube comments controversy that resulted in major brands like Nestle, Disney and Epic Games pulling their pre-roll ads off the site. As Izad explained, Studio71’s content scanning happens before an ad is served, meaning that brand partners can be assured that their ads are in a transparent, brand-safe environment, from the video to the comments below the fold.
Studio71 wrapped up its presentation by unveiling Studio71 Xpand, a new ad product powered by the ad platform Spaceback. According to Spaceback CEO Casey Saran, the partnership promises to create ads that look and feel more like social media experiences than ads, with likes and comments that update in real time.
“We’re combining the best parts of social with the scale, targeting and efficacy of programmatic advertising,” Saran told Adweek. “It’s our way of bringing influencer content outside of the walled gardens.”