Anybody all misty about the traditions of television’s Upfronts abandoned by digital’s NewFronts would have been cheered by Defy Media’s advertiser presentation on Tuesday. It started with a big screen run down of the the daily schedule---dozens of shows that with new episodes that arrive at the same time, every time, like TV’s schedule board.
“We are committed to all of these shows,” said Defy President Keith Richman, about the titles behind him.
Most of the similarities between TV and Devy end there because Defy’s content is edgier and totally focused on millennials (and, of course, usually shorter).
At NewFronts, Defy said it would introduce 30 new programs over its seven brands, and tweaked other NewFronts presenters by repeatedly pointing out that unlike some of the others, Defy actually produces the content it announces.
Matt Diamond, the CEO, asked buyers in the audience to sit back at other NewFronts and ask whether they’re at a programming presentation “or are you literally sitting in green-lighting conference” hoping to use NewFronts to find backers.
Defy, which claims 100 million social followers and 800 million video viewers across all of its channels, thinks the discipline in its operation, including the scheduling, creates and builds viewer loyalty. Diamond said after the session that Defy shows always get their biggest swell of viewers on their original release days. (Those schedules are relentless, too. Afterward, SMOSH star Ian Hecox said he and his partner Anthony Padilla, have not skipped a week from their Friday schedule and that show is celebrating 10 years on YouTube.)
The brand announced new packages for advertisers in which it can buy advertising in all four of Defy’s main platforms and know exactly when and what content it will appear with, or work directly with Defy program creators to craft specific brand campaigns. Another ad avenue, called “badging,” allows advertiser to essentially buy a “brought to you by” ID, similar, once again, to television’s ages-old sponsorship ad buys.
Among the new shows announced was “These 5 People,” a sketch series from Defy’s best known brand, SMOSH, in which five people will play out five normal but opposed reactions to a situation, as in a romantic break-up where reactions range from vengeful to catatonic to elation. (An improvised episode videotaped from the actors’ New York hotel rooms Monday night quickly gathered in a quarter-million viewers when it was posted on Facebook, Defy said.)On its Clevver channel, Defy will debut “Beauty Trippin’ in which hosts Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston are taken to experience bizarre beauty and fitness treatments, the hook being they don’t know what it is until they get there. Another show “Diss-Track,” lets comedians and lyricists seemingly from the ]Weird Al Yankovic School of Music, and actors impersonating famously feuding stars, sing nasty songs to each other, in a kind of musical version of the poisonous tweets celebs tend to aim at other celebs these days.