The increasingly crowded streaming space is shaking up the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts slate this year. The 2020 lineup, featuring streaming-based companies including Hulu, YouTube, Vudu and Roku, will expand beyond the IAB’s recent weeklong format with an additional two days of presentations focused on the streaming world—including the ecommerce and streaming giant Amazon making its inaugural NewFronts appearance as a presenter.
The event, which IAB is calling the “new NewFronts,” is slated to take place April 27-May 6 in New York and will feature at least 14 standalone presentations from publishers and platforms that also include BBC News, Condé Nast, Meredith Corp., The New York Times, Twitter, Verizon Media and Vice Media Group, according to the initial lineup and schedule released today.
The agency Digitas, a founding NewFronts partner, will also return, as will Ellen Digital Network, which along with Vudu made its first appearance at the event in 2019.
Companies that appeared at last year’s NewFronts but are MIA for 2020 include Target, Studio71 and Viacom Digital Studios (Viacom merged with CBS in December to become ViacomCBS, and will enter this year’s upfront with a new strategy).
“The television industry is going through the most significant revolution it’s ever gone through in its history,” said IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg. “There’s $100 billion of advertising spend that is in the early to middle stages of transition from one set of distribution platforms and one set of consumer access opportunities to an entirely different set of distribution platforms and an entirely different set of consumer access opportunities. That is really what these NewFronts are about.”
In 2018, the IAB trimmed NewFronts from two weeks to one week, but presentations will span a week and a half this year. While the IAB does not oversee individual company presentations, it has partnered with Hulu to develop two days of “Streaming Week” programming, which will include keynotes, research presentations and workshops at a single venue. Hulu will cap off the NewFronts on the morning of Wednesday, May 6, with its own presentation, which it refers to as its upfront.
Peter Naylor, Hulu svp and head of advertising sales, said programming for Streaming Week will focus on educating media buyers about the streaming space. It will feature streaming publishers and brands including Entrepreneur Media Inc. and Samsung Ads.
“Over the last 24 months, we’ve seen an increased velocity in questions from buyers,” Naylor said. “From measurement to creative best practices to ad optimization and targeting, it’s these questions on these topics that reveal an enormous need for education. As a leader in streaming TV, we have an obligation to the industry. Streaming Week is one way we’re aiming to move the industry forward and eliminate the blind spots not just for buyers but for all partners across the ecosystem.”
Sprinkled throughout the week-and-a-half of programming will be other topical segments devoted to streaming audio and influencer marketing. Friday’s lineup will be entirely dedicated to streaming audio and will feature presentations from publishers like iHeartMedia, NPR and Pandora, the IAB said. Wednesday morning will feature an influencer marketing spotlight.
The NewFronts have changed considerably since they came onto the scene in 2012 as digital media’s answer to the annual linear upfront presentations. Publishers large and small were eager to throw their hats into the NewFronts ring during the heyday of venture-funded digital media; in 2016, nearly 40 digital media companies presented.
That number has since contracted considerably, but the event has adjusted to encompass new brands as well, including returning presenters Ellen Digital Network and Vudu.