As ad spending on online video soars into the billions, Vevo, Federated Media, Yahoo, and Alloy showcased their upcoming original programming plans, insights on online consumer behavior, and strategies for commanding the burgeoning digital video industry.
Also see "NewFronts: Why digital video is bigger than you think."
Editor's note: Don't miss the end of today's video where we interview "Smosh."
In its first-ever NewFront, music entertainment platform Vevo presented a flashy musical review of some of the impressive, high quality music video content it has produced in just two and half years in business.
With monthly unique visitors averaging around 250 million, and bragging rights that 90 percent of all commercials running on its platform are viewed to completion, the Vevo NewFront featured a live performance by Emmy Award-winning singer/songwriter John Legend, and a stellar panel of industry figureheads such as Wenda Harris Millard of MediaLink, Frank Cooper of PepsiCo, and L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic Records.
In typical NewFront fashion, Vevo also detailed plans to rollout six new music video series that will air on the platform and on-demand. In a presentation by President and CEO Rio Caraeff and other Vevo executives, Vevo's debut video programming is slated to include: "Busk or Bust," a reality competition show where contestants sing for their supper; "Cover Stories," a comedic take on the not-so-true stories behind some of our favorite album covers; and "Hear Me Out," a dating show where the potential of love is based solely on the participants' musical choices.
Other new programming will feature "Sound + City," a show that uncovers the people, places, and things that are currently influencing the music of a particular city; "Strange Island," a new scripted musical comedy series with four aspiring stars looking for a shortcut to fame; and "You Play Like A Girl," which combines the aspiration and inspiration of real-life young girls who are pursuing music as a career.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Federated Media Publishing used its NewFront presentation to announce an official launch into branded video content. Federated already maintains a significant portfolio of video clients, with brands such as UPS, Intel, Levi's, and Cadillac, to name a few, but the publisher invited the advertising community to consider its next-generation approach to highly customized, conversational branded content.
"It's time for us to stand up and take ownership of our success," Deanna Brown, Federated Media CEO, said. "This is a different type of NewFront. Today is the beginning of the conversation for us -- not the first, but a big one for Federated. What's new is taking branded content marketing and putting it into the social world. We're putting a stake in the ground and presenting a new way of thinking about video."
Based on previous success in this market, Federated boasts proven expertise in conversational media and creating social content from a voice rooted in real life, as well as an ability to put that content to work for brands. According to Brown, 86 percent of the Federated Media audience feels a personal relationship with the brands they represent and are six times more likely to tweet about them than a competitor.
"Content fuels audience conversation," Brown said in her NewFront presentation. "What would Facebook be like without compelling content to share? Content fuels digital marketing, and how you participate is at the heart and soul of your brand strategy."
Brown finished by outlining the numerous ways Federated Media puts content to work for brands: End-to-end publishing platforms, original custom content series, sponsored posts (to find the right place for that conversation), conversation marketing, content-driven ad units, and seamless editorial integration.
"We are a conversational media company that delivers results," Brown said. "Be the next custom original. Today is just the beginning."
Yahoo took the mid-day NewFronts slot to announce its lineup of original video for a global audience of more than 700 million users. New video rollouts include “Dancing With Myself,” a musical jukebox comedy produced by Matthew Weaver that features classic 80s pop songs, and a slate of original video programming targeted at men, including a talk show in development with actor Jeff Goldblum; "Stunt Nation," with host Sal Masekela; demolition program "KaBOOM"; and daily show "The MANual."
The final announcement was the premiere of Katie Couric's new web show "Katie's Take," in which Couric will explore topics and issues that matter most to her viewers, including health, nutrition, parenting, and wellness.
"We're partnering with industry leaders and top Hollywood talent, creating unique, premium experiences for distinct audiences around the world," Ross Levinsohn, EVP of Global Media, said. "By doing so, we create a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to connect with highly engaged and targeted audiences. We provide the content experiences that consumers want and the context that advertisers desire."
Rounding out a busy day of NewFronts, Alloy Digital threw rocking party at Arena that featured a high-tech digital ambiance, a live performance by Cobra Starship, and the debut of the "Padzilla," a giant smartphone screen that features all of Alloy Digital's current and future programming and family of websites. The app-based, life-size screen enables party attendees to interact with Alloy content like they would on their regular smartphones or tablets within the protective barrier of an overhead sound dome.
Alloy's NewFront announcements included the recent purchase of studio management firm Generate that will focus on producing content for Alloy-owned online brands. "The key to the NewFronts is that it is incumbent upon the digital industry to introduce a scarce product," Matthew Diamond, CEO of Alloy Digital, said. "We have to create uniqueness. The success of the NewFronts is contingent upon digital maintaining the same sense of scarcity, uniqueness, and value as the UpFronts, otherwise there is no value for advertisers."