LIN Digital Enters NewFront with Promise to Reach Consumers No Matter Which Screen

Hollywood Today Live gets Fox distribution deal

LIN Digital emblazoned its stage—and every participant's ID badge—with the word 'hello.'

The company's 2015 NewFront presentation was its NewFront debut, unveiling a wide-ranging digital company that promises to connect brands with content and distribution, reaching consumers on whichever screen they happen to be using. "We're a connected screens media company — digital, TV, social," said LIN Digital's chief revenue officer Jamie Elden.

The presentation at Center 545 in New York City opened with some classic 1960's music and a series of quotes from Mad Men characters like Don Draper ("make it simple, but significant") before updating the music and bringing on LIN Digital's chief strategy officer, John McCarus. "Like Don Draper, we're building something different."

The company combines Media General's 71 television stations in 48 markets as well as digital media companies including Federated Media, HYFN, and BiteSizeTV. "LIN Digital stands in a class of its own and we are determined to break through the clutter and invigorate the industry," said Media General chief digital officer Robb Richter.

In many cases, the company tests new forms of content digitally, and when something begins to click, brings it onto TV. "When we talk about digital, we're not talking about the death of television," says BiteSizeTV CEO Ron Bloom, who announced a new distribution deal for the company's franchise program, Hollywood Today Live. The show, he says, will soon launch on Fox television stations in major markets.

Federated Media CEO Jordan Hoffner, whose career straddles digital and legacy, with stops at Google, YouTube and NBC—where Hoffner worked for a time worked as a researcher on NBC's Today Show—announced Federated would re-think the concept of a morning show and launch FM in the AM. "Thinking back to my Today Show days, I thought, wouldn't it be cool if we did a morning show?" A morning show, he says, created not in the 1950s, but the 21st Century.

"The thing that's so important about video is…you've got to get people to see it. Our backbone is native distribution." LIN Digital's portfolio of companies, Hoffner said, reached one in four U.S. households and half of internet homes. "We want to show that we can take what we do and distribute it out in so many different ways."

Hoffner said combining Nielsen data with comScore data "makes us the world's largest lifestyle brand." As McCarus added, "there is a great need for brand-friendly social content, and we have a massive digital distribution platform and the only content creator network with access to television distribution in a vertically-owned platform. It's a huge opportunity for our brand partners"