7 Leading Voices at the Forefront of Video on Data-Informed Storytelling and Brand Safety

On the eve of NewFronts, Adweek convenes annual roundtable

Video: John Tejada

With video blazing new audience and brand engagement, the 2018 NewFronts should be an important pivot point for producers and platforms as well as marketers getting more comfortable using video as a branding tool.

That will include direct-to-consumer brands eager to spin first-party data into next-generation marketing including video in all its forms, ranging from 6-second ads to long form as well as ad-supported OTT and social video. Adweek was pleased to once again host our annual NewFronts roundtable in partnership with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) at our headquarters in New York. Six industry execs who live and breathe in the burgeoning digital video market, along with moderator Anna Bager, evp of industry initiatives at the IAB, held an engaging and animated hour-long conversation on key forces shaping their respective platforms, content production and businesses.

At the fore of the discussion was the importance of listening to audiences’ needs across the myriad platforms—traditional, mobile and social—to create better-quality content and more effective branded efforts for clients, many of whom are still huddled in experimental mode. And that’s largely because of brand safety concerns in this millennial-driven ecosystem with new rules and light-speed cycles of fame and fade. Facing those concerns, the panelists discussed new processes and relationship mandates that they hope will calm CMO worries that his or her video output will be seen by the right audience in an appropriate environment for messaging. Here are their words.

Adweek’s roundtable, in partnership with the IAB, focused on key forces shaping industry execs’ platforms, content production and businesses.
Raquel Beauchamp

Anna Bager (IAB): I want to start with those of you that are new to the NewFronts this year. That would be ESPN, Viacom and Meredith. Why did you decide to get involved and what are you most excited about this year? We can start with Viacom.

Kelly Day (Viacom): So this is the first year that Viacom in a long time has really heavily invested in digital content, in particular Viacom Digital Studios just launched four months ago. So it’s a relatively new venture and we were really excited to have the opportunity to tell the story about what we’re doing and to reach a wide audience in a very cohesive way and be able to talk about everything that’s going on. We’ve got a lot of new shows coming up, and with the acquisitions of VidCon and WhoSay, we feel like there’s a great story to tell.

Stan Pavlovsky (Meredith): As you mentioned, we’re sort of new to this event. Our colleagues at Time Inc. have been committed to NewFronts for the past five years and we’re bringing a couple of iconic companies together so that we feel this is a pretty good opportunity to tell the story of the new Meredith and our capabilities and our scale in video.

Travis Howe (ESPN): I think for ESPN we think that it’s an important time for us to participate to actually help set some strategy around what we see the future of sports to be, in addition to livestreaming, which we think is going to be a critical part of the digital ecosystem, but also ways in which you can tell stories around the game and storytelling about the game, whether it’s original content or breaking news and highlights. And so we think that this time of year is right for us given where sports sits and the conversation around engaging audiences and the role that we see in setting that strategy.

Bager: How about from founding partners YouTube and Google as well as veterans Twitter and Studio71?

Tara Walpert Levy (Google): When we first put it together that it was just an incredibly important moment for people to understand the trends in terms of how consumers are behaving and engaging with video and TV in a broader sense. And it’s awesome for us to see how it’s gone from like six partners back in the day to dozens. That reflects the vision that people are consuming content in fundamentally new ways. And I think the fact that you also have some traditional players at the table speaks to the fact that Nielsen says it’s very difficult to reach half the country via traditional TV.

This story first appeared in the April 30, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Recommended videos