Twitter Joins NewFronts as Yahoo Drops Out

2015 Yahoo Digital Content NewFronts - Getty - H 2017
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Yahoo!

Twitter will showcase its live programing and original content deals, while Yahoo will instead hold a series of local events.

One of the NewFronts' founding partners is dropping out of the annual event, where digital companies talk up their offerings to New York City ad buyers.

Yahoo, which is in the process of selling itself to Verizon, has decided to forego its usual NewFronts presentation in early May, replacing the once glitzy gathering with a series of local events in cities across the country. Lisa Utzschneider, Yahoo's chief revenue officer, wrote in a blog post Thursday morning that the change would mean Yahoo could "discuss the massive and transformational growth of video and advertising in more intimate settings with our agency and brand partners."

Under CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's NewFront event was a star-studded affair meant to woo advertisers still coming to terms with the value of large media buys around digital short-form video. In 2014, the company unveiled its plan to take on television by picking up the sixth season of Community and ordering a comedy from Paul Feig. In 2015, Naomi Campbell and Michelle Rodriguez touted new digital series.

But in the years since, Yahoo pulled back on some of its video efforts, shutting down video player Yahoo Screen, taking a write-down on its long-form programming and consolidating its digital magazine business, where many of its short-form videos are distributed.

In her blog post, Utzscheider noted that Yahoo has focused in on short-form and live programming for its finance, sports, news and style sections.

Replacing Yahoo on the NewFronts schedule is Twitter, which will host its first presentation for ad buyers on May 1. The social network has placed an emphasis on live streaming video deals over the last year, and it plans to showcase those efforts, as well as some original content offerings, during the presentation.

"We have made major investments in video over the past few years, and being able to present the breadth, depth and quality of that content at the NewFronts is the ultimate culmination of those efforts," said Twitter's vp global revenue and operations, Matthew Derella. "In 2017 and beyond, we are investing further in the video viewing experience, content development and collaborations, and video solutions for advertisers. And we are excited to tell that story to the industry."

Twitter's first live streaming deal was for a piece of the NFL's Thursday Night Football package, which during the 2016 season aired on CBS and NBC. Since then, Twitter has also live-streamed coverage of the presidential debates and election night. It has co-produced some of the live streams, including a Q&A with the cast of Rogue One and Golden Globes red carpet coverage.

Twitter says more than 600 hours of live video was streamed on its platform during the fourth quarter last year, attracting an audience of 31 million unique viewers.

The NewFronts will take place in New York from May 1 to May 12. Other presenters include BuzzFeed, AOL, Hulu, YouTube and Vice Media.