The Interactive Advertising Bureau is planning a four-day fall industry event that looks to answer some of the questions borne out of this year’s NewFronts. Just don’t call it NewFronts West.
Instead, the new event—Reach Conference, which runs from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1—will be a three-day lineup of presentations aimed at answering many of the questions from media buyers and sellers that emerged in conversations throughout the IAB NewFronts.
Those NewFronts, which were held virtually in June after being delayed two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, focused heavily on streaming television and shifting consumer habits amid the pandemic, which prompted sky-high television viewing and accelerated existing streaming trends. During that week of programming and presentations, marketer and agency attendees regularly brought up the challenges around incremental reach, their desire for flexibility and agility, and their interest in the growth of free ad-supported TV and connected TV as a material part of reaching consumers, which prompted the IAB to pull together a fall program to help address some of their questions, said IAB CEO David Cohen.
“Those three things made us think right after the NewFronts that there’s something here,” Cohen said. “As we go into planning for 2021 and as we think about that happening now on the agency and marketer side, we thought it would be a great idea for us to reconvene folks to take the inspiration that we got during NewFronts and actually put it to work during the Reach Conference.”
The goal throughout the conference, which counts nearly 1,000 registrants so far, is to focus on detailing a roadmap for strategists, planners and buyers as they look at their media budgets and plan their investments in the coming year, and will be more focused on the practical applications of planning, not the programming showcases that comprise much of the NewFronts. It will be designed as an interactive webinar with participatory question-and-answer sessions.
Roku and Hulu, who appeared at the NewFronts earlier this year, will participate in Reach Conference sessions and courses, as will NBCUniversal, which launched its new streaming service Peacock on July 15 and has since surpassed 15 million downloads. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish and Pluto TV founder CEO Tom Ryan will also appear in conversation during the event, and TikTok, a first-time NewFronts presenter this summer, has also notched a spot on the schedule.
The lineup also features a handful of podcasting and audio presenters, including iHeartMedia, Pandora and NPR, as well as advertising and measurement companies like DoubleVerify, Quantcast, Pubmatic, Samsung Ads, Tru Optik and Nielsen.
That will be followed by a one-day Video Leadership Summit, which will bring together stakeholders from media agencies, brands, tech companies and publishers to discuss video trends and challenges, and will aim to identify what the industry wants to address in 2021. That day, Cohen said, will feature workshops and weigh-ins from CMOs from various industries.
The week, Cohen said, is “less of the lean-back, be-inspired focus that is the NewFronts, and more of a lean-in, ‘What do we do about it now?’” It aims to take some of the lessons learned from the virtual events IAB has hosted this year, and Cohen says he and the organizers are focused on keeping presentations short, punchy and in varying formats to keep audiences interested and engaged.