The virtual 2021 NewFronts are set for the week of May 3, 2021, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the national trade association for the digital media and marketing industries.
IAB also said it’s shifting its audio marketplace, IAB Podcast Upfront, to take place the following week, May 10, to enable marketers to evaluate their omni-channel investments in an increasingly holistic way. The 2020 event was in September.
The NewFront went virtual for the first time last year and drew more than 14,000 brands and media buyers IAB said. In 2021, it will be live-streamed for buy-side attendees and is open to all digital and streaming — as well as linear video creators and publishers — to “provide buyers and sellers a holistic video marketplace inclusive of video across every screen,” IAB said. Announcements of presenters and hosts will follow.
The event has grown each year since launching in 2012 but organizers are hoping to draw larger cross-section of content producers and platforms.
“Buyers could not have been more clear coming out of the 2020 NewFronts: they want to move the video marketplaces closer together to make it easier to buy. As the definitive marketplace for digital video, we are committed to facilitating the buying process, and will expand the NewFronts so that all participants can come together if they choose,” said IAB CEO David Cohen.
The 2020 edition was, like most events this year so far, upended by Covid-19. It went virtual and unspooled in late June, hosted by former HQ Triva star Seth Rogowsky. Events and presentations were often short and pre-produced, a major change from a decade of in-person gatherings. The live streaming plan for 2021 is testament to how long the pandemic is dragging on. But on the bright side, advertising is recovering faster than expected according to recent data, led by digital, amidst a surge in consumer viewing options.
“Streaming is the future, and the future is now,” said Cohen. “Consumers make no distinction between different forms of video, and there is an urgent need to not only recognize this reality, but also re-organize our industry to support it. This includes everything from cross-platform frequency management, to measurement and attribution, as well as holistic planning, buying, and selling.”
For buyers, said Matthew Sweeney, chief investment officer, GroupM, “A single marketplace that spans web video, connected TV, ad supported video on demand, free ad supported streaming TV, as well as traditional cable, linear, and satellite gives us a clear view of the entire video opportunity.”
NewFronts started as an annual series of events founded by Digitas, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, and Verizon Media (formerly known as AOL and Yahoo).
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