NBCUniversal is joining other big digital companies in participating in a digital media version of a TV-style "upfront" event -- becoming the first traditional media company to do so.
For the "Digital Content NewFronts" series of events, NBCUniversal joins AOL, Digitas, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft Advertising and Yahoo. (NBCUniversal is a co-equity partner in Hulu, along with News Corp., Walt Disney, and Providence Equity Partners.)
Plans are set for NBCUniversal to host its presentation May 1 in New York City.
NBC says it will "present innovative solutions for marketers across its vast portfolio of Web, social and mobile properties. "This includes stand-alone digital companies, DailyCandy, Fandango, iVillage, Television Without Pity -- as well as the TV-related digital properties for Access Hollywood, Bravo, Chiller, CNBC, E!, G4, Golf Channel, NBC Owned Television Stations, MSNBC, Mun2, NBC, The NBC Sports Group, Oxygen, Sprout, Style, Syfy, Telemundo, The Weather Channel, TODAY, USA Network and XFinity TV.
Linda Yaccarino, president of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Digital Ad Sales, noting that NBCU, together with Comcast, reaches 77 million uniques each month, stated: “Now more than ever, digital is essential for every successful campaign."
NBC says digital online advertising spending is forecast to grow 23% in 2012 to $39.5 billion in the U.S. Just looking at digital video, ad revenue is projected to more than double in three years to $7.1 billion -- up from $2.16 billion in 2011, per eMarketer.
There has been disagreement about whether TV network-style "upfronts" can perform for major digital media platforms.
Some think it's a waste of time -- that digital advertisers, unlike TV advertisers, buy more of their media on a year-round basis, rather than through "upfront" deals, where typically TV advertisers buy 70% or more of their yearly TV buys before the fall broadcast season starts.
Other analysts believe that because traditional TV still commands the bulk of U.S. media dollars, established media companies need to participate in big, glossy-style presentations to get marketers' attention -- and media dollars.