What to make of the 2018 NewFronts schedule, announced this week by the IAB? The event is back to one week, but there are gaps in the schedule and some surprising no-shows.
As usual, the schedule is broken into four slots per day, with powerhouses Twitter, Oath, Hulu, Digitas, YouTube, and the IAB itself taking their usual spots. But there are three gaps in the schedule, suggesting that the IAB had trouble filling even this shorter schedule. Not true—it’s just a matter of timing, says the IAB:
“While we aren’t at liberty to discuss the companies we’ve spoken with, we do anticipate that the open slots in the New York week will fill shortly,” says Anna Bager, executive vice president of industry initiatives at the IAB, speaking to OnlineVideo.net. She didn’t respond to a question on whether or not this year’s event might expand to two weeks.
Many companies that held newfront presentations in 2017 aren’t on this year’s schedule, such as PopSugar, Mashable, Bloomberg, Defy Media, CNN, Vice, Trusted Media Brands, Entrepreneur, and Astronauts Wanted. A year without a Vice NewFront? The NYC media world just got a little less colorful.
There could be multiple reasons why the 2018 NewFronts schedule is on the slender side. Some publishers, such as Mashable, have financial hurdles to overcome. And some in the industry grumble that an online publisher presentation week doesn’t make sense, as sites don’t release new shows on a schedule like TV broadcasters do. Also, the IAB has announced that it will host newfronts in Los Angeles in Q4 for the first time ever, and some publishers could be waiting for that event.
“The change to the schedule—creating two events on two coasts at different times of year—is a reflection of a dynamic market within the video landscape, and within much of media for that matter,” Bager says. “The NewFronts’ fairly fixed recurrence in the spring doesn’t always fit each company’s strategy or content release plans, so we’ve adjusted to fit what the presenters and the buy-side market tell us. Adjusting was a big factor in expanding to L.A.—we hope to bring all the energy and excitement for the newfronts throughout the year by underscoring the opportunity in digital video to partners in Los Angeles, and to brands and buyers who can’t always make it to New York each spring.”
As for what the L.A. event will look like, Bager says, “It will be an event filled with presentations of original video content, as well as deeper collaborations with many of the amazing production and talent partners that L.A. has to offer.”
The 2018 NewFronts schedule runs from April 30 to May 4, 2018.