A Week Of NewFronts: A World of Food Shows And Analytics

The first week of NewFronts is all but over, and I’ve seen a lot of big plans and, usually, smaller ideas.

It would probably be rude, or just transparent, to note that America now is at the limit for cooking shows. And I say that just a few hours after enjoying a delicious waffle ice cream sandwich with espresso concoction made for the Pop Sugar NewFront crowd by famed chef Dominique Ansel.  

“Are you ready to Eat the Trend?” the crowd was asked in a query that did double duty because PopSugar also has a show named that. Then came the waffles.

PopSugar fits the self-helpie-ness/show biz gossip genre well, with a kind of tongue-in-cheek approach, and that’s what it spotlighted. Almost lost in the shuffle was a clip from “Seriously Distracted,” a sitcom from Broadway Video about a not-quite-established New York PR firm whose staffers are pre-occupied by, well, show biz gossip.

The clip looked promising, and also fits the brand. But at the NewFront itself, beyond the waffle, many guests probably went home agog over the waiter who strolled the area holding a clear umbrella, with churros (or pretzels?) dangling from the edges.

By the time I got to PopSugar, I had been to the Scripps Interactive session in which it announced 50 new or returning food/lifestyle/home/design series for its Ulive Lifestyle Network and nine for its Travelchannel.com site, and more on FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com.  

Lots and lots of food fare there.

By one account, Scripps will launch 150 series this year, all of them around the food and shelter umbrella, but everybody is in that space, including a bushel and a pack of YouTube channels.

At the Conde Nast event, executives were trumpeting the soon-to-happen Bon Appetit channel, and somewhere, at one of its channels, there was a food expert who in a clip asked, “Did you know that eating plums can help your sex life?” (I only wrote down the line, I’m afraid.)  

Even The New York Times started its NewFronts presentation with Mark Bittman, the famed food writer. If, as MediaPost reported, YouTube video might be taking about 2% of total TV/video viewing going on, another percentage point or two must be eaten up by food and cooking shows all over the Web.

There were some hidden eye-openers, not food related. Yahoo, in a largely incoherent presentation, waited until nearly the end of its presentation to announce that beginning this summer, it would begin presenting a live concert every single day of the year, working, um, in concert with Live Nation, the huge promoter.

That’s a major deal--live streaming is the next frontier--but it wasn’t presented that way, and not at all like Microsoft’s Xbox hyped its streaming of Bonaroo this summer. Microsoft’s Nancy Tellem and others seemed to mention the event, oh 40 or 50 times, at its NewFront.

Everything now gets cooked up and instantly analyzed. DigitasLBi held a half-day long event for ad buyers on Thursday, ending with a performance by Betty Who.

It turns out, despite her last name, Who is not quite as unknown as she was when Digitas booked her, because it employed the analytic dashboard from Next Big Sound. CEO and co-founder Alex White gave props to Digitas for latching on to Who months ago when her star was just starting to ascend, based on their data. You can see how they charted Pharrell Williams here.  

The most scary-awesome takeaway from that event was a visual of a dashboard developed by a company called SimpleReach that helped Digitas create a real-time dashboard of online video viewing measured by pageviews, shares, traffic, time spent and social. It will be using SimpleReach for clients through the end of the year.

It’s quite a thing, especially if you ever stop to wonder the /who/why/when of the ridiculously vast online video universe. 

At the conference, Edward Kim, SimpleReach’s CEO, showed those dashboard meters whirring madly as they were counting online video viewership, instantly, from the world of online providers.

All of those viewers, no doubt, were streaming cooking shows.


pj@mediapost.com
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