Bob Garfield

NewFronts: Why digital video is even bigger than you think

Just how big is digital video? We talked with Paul Kontonis, Felicia Day (pictured), CNN's Piers Morgan, Disney's Ali Wentworth, Digitas CEO Colin Kinsella, and many more big name insiders. You don't want to miss this exclusive inside look at the revolutionary NewFronts.

Disney Interactive Media Group celebrated its NewFront lineup at the Soho House, welcoming advertisers and press to enjoy a laid back and personal glimpse at its upcoming digital programming.

Leveraging Disney's wildly popular social media footprint -- 300 million Facebook fans for starters -- the digital showcase included "Where's My Water?" a homegrown series featuring a character named Swampy and his quest to clean up the sewer where he lives; "Thinking Up," a show that helps parents come up with creative solutions for dealing with difficult child-related situations; "Moms Of," a series of interviews with moms of famous and extraordinary people; and "That's Fresh," a cooking show with easy and inspiring recipes for moms. Two other new rollouts featured "Power Up," a series about retro gaming culture starring Christina Grimmie; and "Talking Friends," a strange cast of animated characters that get into crazy adventures.

The Disney NewFront wrapped with a live tapping of Ali Wentworth's "Daily Shot," with side commentary from the "kitchen table" comedienne that provided an opportunity for advertisers to ask questions about the success of the show and Ali's quirky take on relaying her own personal life experiences and struggles to her audience of online viewers.

The Digitas NewFront, now in its fifth year, was the crown jewel of a great week of digital events, all with completely different styles, themes, and personalities. The massive networking event was housed in a warehouse in the West Village and served as a digital bazaar for many influential agencies and brands, as well as TV and web celebrities Piers Morgan, Kristin Chenoweth, Rashida Jones, Heidi Klum, Felicia Day, Ali Wentworth, and Michelle Phan.

On the scale of a major Hollywood event -- serving a new era of digital entertainment -- Digitas featured more than five hours of compelling on-stage content, case study-style presentations, and roundtable discussions on the state of the digital video industry with marquee brands such as Microsoft, AOL, YouTube, Xerox, Bravo, Virgin Mobile, Hulu, Best Buy, Yahoo, J. Crew, and Vanity Fair, to name a few.

Among some of the findings and reveals, Digitas unveiled recent research indicating a more than healthy outlook for the video industry. According to Harris Interactive, more than 63 percent of U.S. adults look at online video content while watching traditional TV, and 46 percent of online video viewers are likely to seek out participating brands during their experience. In addition, 51 percent of online video viewers, ages 18-44, say that if they watch a video online that mentions a brand, they will look that brand up. Conversely, 58 percent of users who follow brands on social media will check out a video posted by a brand that they follow.

"This NewFront is about big content," Mark Beeching, worldwide chief creative and strategy officer for Digitas, said in his opening remarks. "This is the year that native digital video has gone big in so many ways."