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The Digital Content NewFronts are headed west.
After hosting a shortened event in New York last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is unveiling new details about its plans to bring the advertiser pitchfest to Los Angeles this fall.
Dubbed NewFronts West, the event will take place Oct. 9-10 at NeueHouse Hollywood. Time slots are available for as many as 16 digital video companies that want to showcase their programming for brands and media buyers.
This is the first time that IAB has taken the NewFronts on the road. And organizers are modifying the event to fit the new location. At their peak, the NewFronts spanned two weeks and some 35 presenters, who were given two-hour time slots and hosted their showcases at venues around the city. NewFronts West, however, will be held at one location and will feature shorter presentation blocks to give more companies the opportunity to join the condensed two-day event.
“The decision to launch NewFronts West came out of numerous conversations with marketers and agency execs,” explains Anna Bager, executive vp industry initiatives at IAB. “Digital video buying happens throughout the year, so it made sense to extend the NewFronts beyond one time of year and one market.”
Lindsay Sutton, assistant vp and digital strategy lead at John Hancock, added in a statement, “The event is sure to bring us closer to new content creators and ideas that will fuel brand storytelling and our connection to consumers in the next year and beyond.”
Started in 2012, NewFronts has served as the digital media industry’s answer to the television upfronts, giving upstart digital publishers and more established platforms the opportunity to convince brands to move some of their annual marketing budgets online. Critics of the event, however, have long argued that it didn’t make sense to host an annual event when most digital video is produced throughout the year and only made once an advertiser or sponsor is secured.
The IAB revealed in February that it was planning a Los Angeles event, news that coincided with the announcement that the NewFronts would shrink to one week (limiting the number of presentations to around 20). The previous year, several companies — including NewFronts founder Yahoo, BuzzFeed and Fullscreen — opted not to host presentations or to hold less lavish affairs, though new companies such as Twitter took their place on the schedule. With companies across the digital media industry now facing revenue shortfalls and subsequent reorganizations, the event shrunk considerably this year. All told, 16 companies presented over the five days from April 30 to May 4. They included stalwarts such as YouTube, Hulu and Oath (the brand formed by the merger of AOL and Yahoo), as well as NewFronts newcomers Viacom and ESPN. The IAB has yet to announce who will participate in NewFronts West.
“Although this will be the first time that the NewFronts are being hosted on the West Coast, we are thinking of the L.A. event as getting back to the NewFronts‘ roots,” Bager says. “We expect that this new extension of the marketplace will showcase both big media names and true digital upstarts, like MCNs and app-only content creators, so a wide range of original programming — leaning into emerging formats and channels — will take the spotlight.”
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