Talent in Selling Video Never Gets Old—A Guide to Navigating the NewFronts

The best veteran sales execs bring relationships and wisdom

Finding a sales exec who can navigate the NewFronts is key to succeeding in digital video.
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In a world where television is video, content is publishing, and upfronts are OutFronts and NewFronts, there is one precious commodity that is timeless and invaluable: wisdom. The digital media vendors plying their trade by selling ad opportunities in the brand marketing ecosystem (BME) could greatly benefit from tapping into experienced, innovative, top television leaders that can cross the digital divide.

Rich Goldfarb

A bit self-serving, you might say? Perhaps, but it’s also an observation rooted in experience, knowledge, and yes, wisdom.

It is clear to all players in the BME that the world of digital video has opened up significant marketing opportunities and with good reason. Video continues to connect with viewers and users, and remains a key driver of sales and an awareness-builder for brands.

Further, the much-derided upfront TV selling model is being embraced by all vendors trying to monetize their platforms in the single largest national TV advertiser marketplace, as well they should. The past concept of convergence, albeit elusive, remains a useful north star.

So what do the newer players on the supply side need to do? Here’s some guidance from someone who’s worked in this space for a long time.

  • Understand the fundamental principles of the marketplace
  • Listen to the voice of the marketers that participate in the upfront marketplace
  • Adopt these principles and learnings to your “products” and best business practices
  • Engineer improvements in the process driven by technology and enhanced measurement
  • Establish unique selling propositions and differentiate yourself from traditional TV options
  • At the same time, find models in which TV and video can be complementary, or even a driver of better results in combination
  • Harness the power of programmatic and optimization tools to drive sales, not just efficiencies
  • Demonstrate why and how video is as effective as traditional TV (no small feat), while also overcoming concerns about content and measurement integrity

In addition, consider hiring or retaining the talents of TV professionals who can add value with respect to the upfront marketplace, and all marketplaces. Here’s why: the past evolution of national television is prologue to the future.

Whether it’s the big three broadcast networks, the original Family Feud, Ted Turner’s Superstation, The CW, ESPN.com, branded video content, advertiser coproductions, video on demand, place-based video, Facebook Live, Snapchat, over-the-top options or even virtual reality, the connective tissue is all this content relies on consumers watching a screen. And virtually all of that content relies on advertising to fund it.

Lastly, there is another valuable commodity that some seasoned television executives possess: relationships. They may no longer use Rolodexes, but their smartphones are filled with important contacts on the client and agency side, especially those executives who write the big checks.

So, seek those out who have wisdom … and relationships. They can flourish in any video ecosystem. And they can help any video player fill the coffers.

Rich Goldfarb, most recently svp of media sales for Fox Networks/National Geographic Channels and a veteran of NBC Cable, Turner and Viacom, sits on several advisory boards.