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NewFronts returns to in-person wooing of advertisers

May 2, 2022
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Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

After two years of virtual showcases, the NewFronts ⁠— digital media's answer to the annual TV Upfronts ⁠— returns to in-person presentations and parties this week.

Why it matters: Fourteen years into its history, the NewFronts is an important marketplace for media companies and advertisers. NBCUniversal, for example, participates in both NewFronts and Upfronts.

What's happening: The week kicks off with a panel co-produced by MediaLink and YouTube and then back-to-back presentations throughout Manhattan from Peacock, Vizio, Tubi and Amazon.

  • Tuesday is Samsung Ads, Roku, Condé Nast, Snap and Meta.
  • Wednesday is Digitas, Blavity, Revolt, Black Enterprise, TikTok and Twitter.
  • Thursday is A+E Networks, Nielsen, fuboTV, Dotdash Meredith, Comscore, LG Ads, Innovid, GSTV, Crackle Plus, Nuestra.TV, Samba TV, Tastemade, Estrella Media, Wave Sports + Entertainment, Canela Media, The Recount, Vevo and Warner Music Group.
  • The events on events on Thursday are only virtual. Also, all of the in-person panels are streamed online.
  • "Marketplaces are best realized face to face. But at the same time, not everyone can travel to New York, and so this year we really wanted to maximize what we learned over the past two years," Eric John, vice president of Media Center at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, tells Axios.

Context: Digitas hosted the first NewFronts in 2008. It quickly grew to a two-week affair where a bunch of media companies threw grandiose events to woo advertisers.

  • Media companies have dropped in and out of participating in the formal event, which the IAB has run since 2013. BuzzFeed, a former frequent presenter that gave a short virtual presentation last year, held its own event last week.

The big picture: NewFronts now has its own offshoots. The IAB will host the Podcast Upfronts next week, after holding the first PlayFronts, a marketplace for gaming, last month. In the fall, it'll host Audience Connect to discuss data and privacy.

  • "We see, ultimately, the future of an omni-media, holistic approach to understanding how audiences consume media. But the fact is that buyers are still organized around particular verticals," John says.
  • Companies can participate in multiple events. Meta sponsored and spoke at the PlayFronts and will present at the NewFronts. Amazon will present at the NewFronts and the Podcast Upfronts.
  • "We've been talking about converged television forever, and I think the reality is content is always king, content drives audiences, but the way we reach audiences, especially in a digital medium, is increasingly always on," John says.
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