360° Coverage : Five Questions Facing NewFronts Digital Players From Hulu to...

2 Updates

Five Questions Facing NewFronts Digital Players From Hulu to YouTube

Apr 29 2014, 7:17am CDT | by

One of the oldest rituals in television, the “upfront” pitch to ad buyers, has gotten a few twists over recent years. In the errant reign of Ben Silverman at NBC, they were re-christened “in-fronts...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

20 weeks ago

Five Questions Facing NewFronts Digital Players From Hulu to YouTube

Apr 29 2014, 7:17am CDT | by

One of the oldest rituals in television, the “upfront” pitch to ad buyers, has gotten a few twists over recent years. In the errant reign of Ben Silverman at NBC, they were re-christened “in-fronts.” Weather Channel, given its scale across media platforms, has taken to calling it an “all-front.” And just this month, Sean Combs’ fledgling music network Revolt settled on the comprehensive-sounding “omni-front.”

But there is one spring banner that has gained a lot of legitimacy in the realm spanning digital brands and traditional TV: the NewFronts. That’s shorthand for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts, a series of two dozen presentations in New York by a lineup of heavy hitters — and a few up-and-comers — that will help influence the flow of an increasing pot of advertising investment. It still amounts to digital dimes, as they say, but well on its way to becoming full-fledged dollars. This is the fourth year of the NewFronts and total spending on digital ads has climbed toward the $3 billion mark, even if the digital sector remains a fraction of the total ad pie. As media spectacles, NewFront events have much in common with the tried-and-true staple of the broadcast and cable world: the traditional upfront, which usually combines Draper-esque ad mythos with corporate PowerPointing and a heavy dollop of showbiz. Talent is flown in, clips are screened, and guests are wined, dined and festooned with swag. What’s not to like?

Well, it turns out all of that hubbub is masking gradually increased expectations. This year’s eight-day stretch of NewFronts, from April 28 to May 7, is the most consequential yet. In just the first day, the New York Times, BuzzFeed, Xbox and Yahoo each held forth, and each grappled with existential questions — about growth, about strategy, and of course, about profit. We’re not a newspaper, went the Times theme — we’re a hub of some 430 videos a month. We’re not a portal where you check your email, maintained Yahoo — we are a collection of high-end content creators and Katie Couric is on our team now. Those assertions didn’t quiet some larger questions echoing ever louder for many of the other presenting companies at the NewFronts. Here are five of the biggest:

1) Can YouTube make good on its 5% solution? When YouTube takes the stage at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 30, hovering over execs like a cursor will be the question of whether it has tacked in the proper direction by going back to its roots. After essentially throwing in the towel on its expensive bet on original content a couple of years ago, the O.G. UGC player is now committed to the idea that showcasing its stalwart channels — the blockbuster traffic magnets that don’t yet have the household name status on Madison Avenue — is its true destiny. There are big bucks in this so-called “Google Preferred” direction, and the company has also teamed with Nielsen to offer guarantees for ad buyers, a traditional TV move that is far less common online. Ad buyers will be wondering how to make that sexy for clients.

2) Can Conde Nast go from traditional print to digital content powerhouse? It’s the dawn — as in former TV exec Dawn Ostroff — of a new day for print publishers. And Conde, home to elite brands such as Vanity Fair, Vogue and Gourmet, is basically arguing that its expertise in the tastemaking path qualifies it to make original video more efficiently and effectively that others vying for their deep-pocketed audience. Essentially, they look at ventures like Esquire‘s foray into cable network programming with NBCUniversal and wonder why a magazine brand, already saddled with legacy costs, needs to go that costly, complicated route. But while that sounds utterly logical, the questions remains: will Conde have the kind of knack Ostroff showed in guiding the likes of Gossip Girl to the air? Or will its online video content seem like so much backstage-with-Anna-Wintour fare?

3) Can Hulu’s new team make it a threat to Amazon and Netflix? Last year was an eventful one for Hulu, which is owned jointly by 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. Initially it sought a new owner; after sorting through bids and weighing its options, the service opted to avert a deal and instead installed new management — led by distribution vet Mike Hopkins — to make a go of it. There are plenty of positive signs, with Hulu Plus up to 6 million subscribers and the brand now past the billion-dollar level, a mark once thought laughable. But a major reshuffling of the content team in recent weeks has prompted whispers that singles and doubles — e.g., fun shows like Incredibles-esque The Awesomes, are not quite enough. So the question looming over Hulu’s session will be: where is its House of Cards? Or is that even the way they want to go?

4) What is Time Inc.’s plans for the post-spinoff, post-Time-Life world? Time Inc., long part of Time Warner, will soon be spun off as its own company and possibly out of its longtime postwar landmark home, the Time-Life Building on Manhattan’s Avenue of the Americas. Change is in the air, and the strategy that held sway just a few years ago is out the window. Content travels across platforms in today’s Time world, and the main mission is to build an arsenal of video across Time, People and Sports Illustrated (among other top brands) that will lure advertisers. But the company faces a bit of a “me-too” question, especially given it has never historically been known for synergy — the lack thereof, in fact, helped doom the AOL-Time Warner deal and other combinations of properties under the Time Warner roof.

5) What will Maker Studios become after the Disney deal? Maker Studios, like Vevo, Machinima, Big Frame and a host of others, is classified as a “multichannel network” — it works with YouTube to populate the content giants many channels. Its sheer reach — and, in particular, reach to younger audiences — enticed the Walt Disney Co. to pay $500 million (and possibly more once incentives are counted) for the site in a deal announced earlier this year. But what exactly will Disney want to do with Maker? It has managed major acquisitions from Marvel to Lucasfilm well since bringing them into the House of Mouse. And the appetite for deals is such that even BuzzFeed got a serious look, according to a report in Fortune. But the $1 billion pricetag proved too daunting. Disney has its share of blemishes in the digital space, from Club Penguin to the Go Network — so what did it see in Maker? That’s what buyers, press and anyone else in the NewFronts room will be waiting to hear the answer to.

 
Update
2

3 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce o ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" hits home ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

A blood test to detect psychosis
New York, Sep 23 (IANS) Offering a ray of hope for people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis, a blood test may help identify if they are at the risk of developing serious brain disorders later in life.
 
 
Strict parenting puts kids at low self-esteem risk
New York, Sep 23 (IANS) Punitive parenting techniques used by some parents may lead to the development of low self-esteem and school adjustment difficulties in kids, leaving them vulnerable to depression and problem behaviours, finds new research.
 
 
Windy conditions around infant star?
New York, Sep 23 (IANS) Astronomers have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around an infant analogue - called T Tauri - of our Sun.
 
 
Search begins to provide healthy diet for space dwellers
Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) Will astronauts be able to grow enough food on Mars to maintain a healthy diet? How about growing food on Earth under extreme conditions?
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Apple Sets New Records With iPhone 6 Release
The iPhone 6 was one of the most hotly anticipated products that the company has released in recent years, in part due to the fact that it has a larger screen than past options. This single point of contention convinced...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Myanmar tightens security amid Al Qaeda threat
Yangon, Sep 23 (IANS) Myanmar authorities Tuesday tightened security in the Yangon region, especially around religious buildings, in the wake of a threat from the Al Qaeda terrorist group. "Patrolling has been...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Windy conditions around infant star?
New York, Sep 23 (IANS) Astronomers have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around an infant analogue - called T Tauri - of our Sun. Some 4.5 billion years ago, the Sun was also an infant star...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Australia welcomes unity government deal in Afghanistan
Sydney, Sep 23 (IANS) Australia Tuesday welcomed the Afghanistan unity government agreement between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah. The two candidates in Afghanistan's presidential election have finalised...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Bono scared to Google his name
Bono is ''afraid'' of Googling himself. The U2 frontman hates looking himself up on the internet but in the wake of criticism of his group's new album 'Songs of Innocence' - which was given away free to Apple iTunes...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Modi's action-packed US tour combines symbolism and substance
Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a landmark action-packed US visit this week with all his engagements combining symbolism and substance to reflect India's priorities from...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Windies women developing well, says Campbell
Kingstown (St. Vincent), Sep 23 (IANS/CMC) West Indies women's performance in the just concluded four-match One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand women, has come in for high praise from their head...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Search begins to provide healthy diet for space dwellers
Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) Will astronauts be able to grow enough food on Mars to maintain a healthy diet? How about growing food on Earth under extreme conditions? These are the questions scientists are trying to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Eddie Redmayne dislikes playing characters similar to himself
Eddie Redmayne finds it tough playing characters who are similar to his real-life self. The 32-year-old actor, who has appeared in films such as 'Les Miserables' and 'My Week with Marilyn', is less comfortable playing...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Dumping BJP hasn't hurt Bihar: CM in London
London, Sep 23 (IANS/RAY) Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has claimed that his party JD-U's stand of dumping the BJP last year, in protest against the latter appointing Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial...
Read more on Politics Balla