Upfront/Newfront: TV Networks Consider Their Options

Going to many upfront/newfront presentations? Some say there are honorable reasons to attend and get a full understanding TV network/digital video ventures.

Others say that’s not the point -- which has forced some TV-video sellers to reconsider the process. For example, BuzzFeed, Machinima, and Yahoo have pulled out completely, while digital Fullscreen, an indie YouTube network, has moved to a smaller presentation.

Overall, these are minor pullbacks, considering that there are still around 30 companies doing big, splashy events -- up from about half-dozen just a few years before.

On the plus side, Twitter is doing an event -- for the first time this year.

So ask yourself: Why are those digital companies still doing NewFronts? Easy answer: Selling digital video to advertisers continues to be a big deal, expected to be a $12 billion market overall this year, according to eMarketer. The bigger target is traditional TV’s expected $72 billion annual take in advertising revenue.



Media agency executives have been going to these NewFront events for the last number of years, gaining an “understanding” of this still new digital video business, according to a senior executive. 

The downside for many media agencies: Dgital media video platforms doesn’t have the scale -- or reach --  to compete with the TV networks. Perhaps, they never will.  So maybe we don’t need much more.

Much of this could be said about TV networks as well -- even as they attempt to morph advertising sales operations into platforms providing more supposed data-driven guaranteed results for brands.

On the demand side, there are still a core group of media executives who still want to go to big glitzy TV events this time of year. Many want to see proof that TV content, in some quarters, can still be entertaining and engaging, even factoring in big screen viewing, loud music, big celebrities, all lubricated by food and drink.

But this hasn’t been a layup. Keith Richman, president of Internet video company, Defy Media, told The Wall Street Journal many new digital video brands realized these presentations can be “a tough sell.”

A couple of points to consider in this regard: Media agency executives believe they discern TV analysts, while at the same time, being tough-to-please TV consumers. Not every TV-video seller -- new or old -- wants to deal with that.

1 comment about "Upfront/Newfront: TV Networks Consider Their Options".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 24, 2017 at 3:38 p.m.

    The main benefit of the "linear TV" upfronts is to allow the agency buyers and their media director clients to have some fun at the presentations, parties, meets with the stars, etc. As dor the digital "newsfronts" why do they even bother?

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