Brand Safety and Content Creators Are Hot Topics on Day One of NewFronts

15 media companies will present at this week's NYC panels

Refinery29 will be among the presenters during this year's NewFronts. Getty Images
Headshot of Sara Jerde

Ahead of the 2018 Digital Content NewFronts, MediaLink, in partnership with YouTube, had a panel discussion this morning to kick off the week-of presentations.

So, what were some of the topics of conversation?

In the event room at Google’s NYC headquarters, as early-morning attendees munched on fresh fruit and pastries, the panelists discussed brand safety.

“There’s not a little safe. There’s either safe or unsafe,” said Linda Boff, CMO at General Electric. “It’s a very black and white issue to me as a brand.”

Both Boff and her fellow panelist, Marc Mathieu, CMO for Samsung Electronics America, complimented YouTube for revamping its policies after advertisers expressed concerns over their ads appearing alongside unsavory content on the platform.

“This isn’t brands versus platforms. It’s brands and platforms trying to figure it out,” Boff said.

Panelist Tara Walpert Levy, vp of agency and brand solutions at Google, said she agreed how important it is “to make it right.”

The panelists also discussed the “gatekeepers” of the industry.

“People are really the gatekeepers and what is personal is what is popular,” Walpert Levy said.

Samsung has partnered with creators, such as Casey Neistat, to make experiences personal. In those collaborations, it’s important for Samsung, Mathieu said, to create content “we believe is relevant.”

“If you have a phone and a signal, you are a creator,” Mathieu said.

This is the first year the presentations are going bi-coastal and more than 15 media companies are expected to present in New York this week, with another segment planned on the West Coast for later in the year.

“Lots of money and lots of bets will be placed earlier this year,” MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan predicted.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.