Online Giants to Put on Their Own Upfront Presentations

5:50 AM PST 02/17/2012 by Georg Szalai

Major online companies, including Google, Yahoo, AOL and Hulu, are planning advertising sales events in April, dubbed Digital Content New Fronts, that will mirror broadcast networks' May upfronts.

NEW YORK - Ahead of broadcast TV networks' traditional upfront advertising presentations here in May that show off their fall season schedule, online media giants will in April hold a similar two-week event dubbed Digital Content New Fronts to also tout their content lineup and advertising opportunities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In a challenge to television, the lineup will include Google and its YouTube video site, Yahoo, AOL, online video venture Hulu and Microsoft, with each company taking a different day to present advertisers with marketing opportunities and future video programming, the paper said. Online media giants hope that the combined effort will persuade marketers to buy online ad packages early and help increase online spending's ad market share.

"We need to show there is a new game in town," said Colin Kinsella, CEO of the North America operations of ad agency Digitas, which came up with the idea for the event.

Television advertising spending amounted to $60.7 billion last year, according to research firm eMarketer. Online video ad spending in the U.S. reached only $2.02 billion, but that was up 55 percent from 2010, the Journal highlighted. 

"There is a big gap between the time consumers are spending on digital platforms and the amount of ad spend," Mickie Rosen, senior vp of Yahoo Media Network, told the Journal.

Advance ad commitments will give Web companies better revenue visibility and give them a better sense for what level of programming investment makes sense, the paper added.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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