Playboy Will Make Its NewFronts Debut in May Along With 5 Other Publishers

Digital video producers vie for advertising dollars

A 60-year-old publication will be one of the new kids on the NewFronts block in 2016. Playboy will be among the 37 presenters during the fifth Digital Content NewFronts, where publishers make their case for a slice of the $3 billion digital-video advertising pie.

Joining Playboy as first-time presenters are Mashable, Hearst, WebMD, Woven Digital and Trusted Media Brands (formerly Reader's Digest). Amid reports of a possible sale and a flagging video business, Yahoo—one of the NewFronts' co-founders—will be among the presenters. Microsoft, another co-founder, dropped out after its 2013 presentation.

The event could be a major opportunity for Playboy as it seeks a broader mix of advertisers. While the print magazine will stop publishing nude pictures in March, the digital side adopted a safe-for-work strategy in August 2014 and has seen positive early results.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which handles logistics for the NewFronts, reports marketers spent roughly $3.3 billion on digital video in 2014, up 17 percent from the previous year.

The IAB added an additional day to the 2016 NewFronts, which take place May 2 to May 13 at various venues in New York. The schedule has been full for about a month, the IAB said, with some companies relegated to a waiting list.

"In previous years, everyone has wanted to be in week one," said Anna Bager, svp and general manager, mobile and video at IAB. "This year, there was no problem at all to sell week two."

Throughout the 2015 NewFronts, presenters and their special guests tried to make the case that digital is a better buy than TV. The NewFronts have been seen as a scrappy precursor to the more buttoned-up TV upfronts which follow a week later. Bager said five years in, the digerati continue to give TV networks a run for their money.

"A lot of the presenters have done this before—they know how to do it now," Bager said. "Last year, it was … way better than the year before."

Check out the schedule below. (The IAB wouldn't reveal who has the morning slot on May 10.)