Web, Social Media Continue to Grow More Important For Television

Everyone knows about the upfronts, which typically give broadcasters the chance to speak with media buyers about all the ad spots they should be purchasing. However, the proliferation of digital has shined a renewed spotlight on the “NewFront.”

NBCUniversal has announced a ton of new digital content for everything from the Golf Channel, CNBC, and The Weather Channel to Daily Candy, Today.com, and Fandango. The digital offerings have positioned a digital ad buy and the traditional broadcast ad purchase as an integrated investment. NBCU’s NewFront event (coverage here and here) had celebs in moderation and did away with screenings, but there were tons of announcements made about some of the new options available.

Among them, a new “casual and social gaming platform” called Universal Games Network; a Daily Candy series that goes “behind-the-scenes” in the world of fashion and beauty (Toyota is already sponsoring the first three episodes); a partnership between Telemundo and Fandango for Fandango Cine, a digital offering targeting U.S. Hispanic moviegoers; and a partnership between the Style Network and Daily Candy to create a new StyleCandy offering that spans across platforms.

The integration between TV, the Web, and social media isn’t new. But what is new is how much companies are now investing in it: time and energy, dollars and cents. Mark Cuban has invested in the social TV startup Flingo. Oxygen is launching a social TV platform called Oxygen Connect. And The 2012 Comedy Awards, which will broadcast this weekend on Comedy Central, blended it all with a Twitter hashtag on the IRL event step-and-repeat and social media gags during the show. They’ve also released preview clips on YouTube, one of which is embedded above.

And it’s not just the traditional broadcasters trying to capitalize on the shift. Digital “NewFronts” began last week with Vevo, an online site specializing in music videos, Yahoo, and Google taking part. NBCU’s EVP of digital media sales told Lost Remote that the Digitas NewFront 2012 event (in its fifth year) was part of the reason NBCU thought “it should have a voice in this.”

Entertainment and digital companies are taking their cues from the audience. New Nielsen research shows that more than two-thirds of viewers are watching TV and using their tablet devices at the same time. Grant LeBoff, writing for The Huffington Post, looks closely at the topic, writing, “For marketing to be effective, all businesses must ask themselves, are they encouraging their customers to be involved, ‘like’ and ‘mention’ them in a positive light to garner as much social proof as possible?”

Though these upfronts and NewFronts are pitches for ad dollars, with overall marketing effectiveness in mind, there are also opportunities for PRs to watch for trends, partnerships, and collaborations that they can use for their programs. Integration is good for everyone.