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Amid an advertising downturn, media planners will be making their more selective bets after attending the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Newfronts this year, set for May 1-4 in New York. As executives ready their pitches, here are a few key questions for the main presenters.
It’s already an advertising powerhouse, quietly generating more than $37 billion in ad revenue last year. But most of that ad revenue was tied to its retail business, where sellers are fighting to get in front of consumers. The Newfronts are more focused on video, where Amazon’s live sports properties and Freevee free streaming service are expected to have top billing. Thursday Night Football has quickly become the most popular live-streamed programming available, and the company is betting that its video ad business has room to expand. And there’s Twitch and the Fire TV platform, which also are expected to play a part in the pitch. The big question: Can the “everything store” find a cohesive message that resonates with brand advertisers?
Amazon’s Newfronts presentation is May 1.
The publishing giant will gather media buyers and advertisers at the top of a high-rise in Hudson Yards for its presentation. Unlike Peacock or Amazon, it doesn’t have a giant subscription video service. And unlike Snap, TikTok or Roku, it doesn’t have a vast platform of hosted content. Condé Nast has always leaned into its brands (The New Yorker, Vogue, Bon Appétit, Vanity Fair). Agnes Chu’s Condé Nast Entertainment has built a platform of video content that includes digital-first programming (like Bon Appetit’s kitchen and travel shows) as well as documentary and scripted fare for other platforms (Netflix’s Last Chance U, the film Spiderhead). But can the publishing powerhouse really compete against tech giants built on data?
Condé Nast’s Newfronts presentation is May 4.
The NBCUniversal-owned streamer is entering the Newfronts on something of a high note. After passing 20 million paid subscribers this year and having arguably its first bona fide hit in Poker Face, the service is expected to lean into more advanced advertising opportunities. Late last year, NBCU revealed plans to launch a self-service marketplace for small and medium-size business to buy on Peacock and plans to block off time on its live sports events for those spots. It also is expected to detail other ad options, like in-scene ads where brands can be inserted into existing content. Will Peacock champion Jeff Shell’s abrupt departure change Comcast’s plans for the service?
Peacock’s Newfronts presentation is May 2.
The company will be under pressure at the Newfronts after its advertising business was hit particularly hard during the holiday season. Some analysts surmised that this was related to Roku’s business model in particular — a model that many on Wall Street say is weighed down by high operating expenses. To cut down on the expenses, management has conducted two rounds of layoffs, impacting about 400 people, with the last cut coming at the end of March. Still, Roku keeps growing its viewing hours, with a 23 percent year-over-year increase in the fourth quarter, and adding more Roku Originals, including a WWE docuseries. And there’s a belief that former Fox executive Charlie Collier, who joined Roku in October to lead its advertising and content business, can move the company further away from the scatter market, which is sold closer to airdate and has been most impacted by the ad downturn, and plot out more originals. Is that enough to win over buyers?
Roku’s Newfronts presentation is May 2.
After coming off a turbulent year of layoffs and fourth-quarter 2022 losses of $288 million; the departures of the company’s top business executives, Jeremi Gorman and Peter Naylor, to Netflix; and lackluster earnings, Snap has its work cut out as the company seeks to reinvigorate its ad business. The social media giant is continuing its investments into augmented reality and is rolling out a B2B unit called ARES, which can help marketers drive more sales with customers using the augmented reality tech to try on clothes, products, etc., and could intrigue returning and new marketers to spend money with the platform. The big question: Can Snap, which touted its 3 million-plus paid subscribers, stand out among other digital ad-dependent social platforms, make good on its AR investments and find new footing with brands?
Snap’s Newfronts presentation is May 2.
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