NewFronts 2015: It’s The Year Of The Millennial For Digital Content Providers
Everyone from AOL to Yahoo promises to deliver the much sought after 18 - 34 year old demographic.
Last week’s NewFronts presentations were jam-packed with celebrities, exclusive series announcements and a host of new advertising solutions – but the one word that made it into nearly every NewFronts event, if not all of them, was Millennials.
BuzzFeed knows how to track them, Maker Studios knows how to attract them, and Youtube pretty much owns them – inviting an entire crowd of Millennial-aged fans into its Brandcast event to cheer wildly for each YouTube celebrity brought on stage.
“The audience you care about the most, Millennials, are more than twice as likely to choose to watch a mobile video on YouTube than anywhere else,” said the site’s head of content Robert Kyncl during YouTube’s event, “Millennials actually want to hear from you on YouTube. They are nearly twice as likely to prefer watching your ad on our platform than anywhere else.”
Started in 2008, NewFronts offers digital content providers an opportunity to pitch advertisers and brands – much like the UpFronts when television networks pitch their programs at the beginning of a new season.
This year’s event kicked off April 27 and will last through May 7 in New York City, with presentations from more than 30 different digital providers. During my time at NewFronts, I was lucky enough to attend presentations from BuzzFeed, Yahoo, Maker Studios, AOL, Hulu and YouTube.
Making its pitch on day one, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said his site reaches more than half of the U.S.’s 18 to 34 year olds, generating more than a billion video views per month.
BuzzFeed brought out its publisher Dao Nguyen to announce the site’s latest metrics technology POUND.
“POUND makes word of mouth marketing measurable,” said Nguyen, explaining how it can track shares across social networks and one-to-one platforms like G-chat and email.
While Yahoo and AOL focused on their extensive collection of exclusive content, both made clear Millennials are a big part of their programming plans. Yahoo opened its presentation with Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki, followed by an appearance from producer Simon Cowell to announce Yahoo’s new “Ultimate DJ” competition reality series.
The first celebrity to grace AOL’s NewFronts event was Kevin Jonas, helping to introduce the site’s new two-minute news series “Rise.”
AOL announced a variety of new content, including its new exclusive documentary series “Citizen Mars” and the return of James Franco’s “Making a Scene.”
Franco was a bit of a NewFronts darling, showing up on stage at AOL, as well as at Hulu’s NewFronts event, joining J.J. Abrams to announce their exclusive Hulu series “11/22/63” based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.
Going off the Millennial script, Hulu announced it had acquired exclusive rights to all nine seasons of Seinfeld, delivering Jerry Seinfeld himself to help make the announcement.
Maker Studios – YouTube’s largest content network and self-defined “global leader of short-form video” – wasn’t able to score a James Franco appearance, but pushed a new coming-of-age series “CAMP,” based on Franco’s 2010 book Palo Alto: Stories.
Maker Studios said it has more than 200 shows in production, and 55,000 independent creators from over 100 countries. During its NewFronts event, Maker Studios chief content officer Erin McPherson emphasized her company’s focus on the Millennial and Generation-Z audience, as well as its ability to deliver relevant content.
“At Maker, we think about distribution, about connecting the right content with the right audience across all platforms,” said McPherson.
NewFronts continues through this week, with presentations from 14 companies, including National Geographic, Discovery Digital Media and Whistle Sports.