The NewFronts are the digital publishing world’s answer to the Upfronts. If you aren’t familiar with the Newfronts, they are an opportunity for publishers to pitch advertisers on the value of their audience and tech platform. In the past, they were treated as somewhat of a sideshow, but this year they threatened to outshine the main event, with more than 30 publishers including the New York Times, Buzzfeed and Vox Media presenting — that’s 50% more than last year. And there was some news made at this year’s sessions. Yahoo announced that it’ll be adding 18 digital video series with big names such as Katie Couric, Naomi Campbell, and Michelle Rodriguez. Vox Media is also expanding its video section with new web series, including a new explainer video series called “Vox Pop.” Not to be outdone, Vice CEO Shane Smith announced the website would be producing 20 new series. Plus, BuzzFeed announced a complex technology called Pound to help gauge how stories spread online. We’ll take apart the NewFronts on this week’s episode of the Mediatwits with guests Amy Gesenhues, reporter at Marketing Land; Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next; Chad Mumm, creative director at Vox Media; and Michael Sebastian, media reporter for Ad Age. Mark Glaser will host and Jefferson Yen will be producing.
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Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He is a longtime freelance writer and editor, who has contributed to magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Wired and Conde Nast Traveler, and websites such as CNET and the Yale Global Forum. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Renee and son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.
Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. Since joining Third Door Media’s editorial staff in March 2013, Amy’s focus has included a majority of Marketing Land’s video advertising coverage, as well as interviews with CMOs and top marketing executives with the world’s leading brands.
Jason Kint is CEO of Digital Content Next, the only trade association to exclusively serve the unique and diverse needs of high-quality digital content companies that manage trusted, direct relationships with consumers and marketers. Jason is focused on guiding the organizations’ diverse and powerful group of members — from established media brands such as The New York Times, NBC, Conde Nast and ESPN, to digital natives, such as Vox, Slate and Business Insider — into the future and on setting the agenda for discussions on issues ranging from net neutrality to revenue innovation to privacy.
Chad Mumm is the Creative Director of Vox Media and head of Vox Entertainment, a division of Vox Media developing digital video and talent partnerships across Vox Media’s seven brands (Vox.com, The Verge, Eater, Racked, Curbed, SB Nation, and Polygon). Chad leads partnership development with the best digitally-native talents to develop new and dynamic online video, television, and film collaborations and content. Previously, Chad led Vox Creative, Vox Media’s in-house advertising and creative services division. In 2011, Chad launched Vox Studios, a full-service internal production group responsible for all video content across Vox Media.
Michael Sebastian covers the media business for Advertising Age, including the often confusing world of content marketing and native advertising. He joined Ad Age in 2013 after founding PR Daily, a daily news site covering digital marketing and public relations. He started his career as a newspaper reporter in Chicago. He’s @msebastian
Getting the attention of ad buyers doesn’t come cheap. You had to pay the Interactive Advertising Bureau $25,000 if you wanted to present in the first week this year. That’s after you get approved by IAB and the NewFronts’ founding partners Yahoo, Google and AOL among others. But it’s all worth it if you can secure an ad buy, right? If. The key phrase there is if. You don’t have to dig hard to find people dubious of the NewFront sessions. One anonymous buyer told the Wall Street Journal’s Mike Shields that it was “the most overhyped week of the year.” Irwin Gotlieb, chairman of GroupM, the media investment company, said it might be more useful if companies sent just “a few people to talk about it” instead of having a huge party.
If you want to get technical about it — and we do — the difference between the Upfronts and the NewFronts is really the difference between legacy media and digital media. The Upfronts exist because there is a finite amount of time that advertisers have to work with if they wanted to buy ad space. this is not the case what digital media. Advertisers won’t get shut out if they buy in advance. But when there’s seemingly unlimited space in digital, what’s the hurry? But this year, the lines blurred between NewFronts and Upfronts, as there was even a podcasting presentation during the Upfronts.
How much do these dog-and-pony shows matter? Will advertisers really pay for digital up front? And how can audiences support so many new video series?
Jefferson Yen is the producer for the Mediatwits Podcast. His work has been on KPCC Southern California Public Radio and KRTS Marfa Public Radio. You can follow him @jeffersontyen.