May 20, 2016

CNBC: Five takeaways from this year’s advertising NewFronts, upfronts

The digital content NewFronts and network upfronts, where media companies show off the best of what’s to come for 2016 and 2017 for potential advertisers, have finally wound down. Here’s some of the main takeaways.

Quality is key and digital says it has it

Digital media companies especially emphasized that they could make premium-quality content just like TV, and deserved those ad dollars.

BuzzFeed pitched advertisers episodic series like “You Do You” and “Broke.” YouTube talked about partnerships with sports leagues like the NBA and kid’s shows like “Sesame Street.”

Among the hybrids, Vice touted the fact that it will launch 20 channels by the end of the year, saying it was “the fastest growing network in the history of TV.” Hulu brought out its creators and original show stars like Mindy Kaling, Amy Pohler and Hugh Laurie.

May 18, 2016

The Business of Television: Canoe Wins Accreditation From Media Rating Council

Makes dynamic ad insertion in VOD more attractive to advertisers

“We are proud of the high bar Canoe sets for itself with regard to the integrity and trustworthiness of our platform,” said Joel Hassell, CEO at Canoe. “To be accredited by the MRC is quite an honor.”

The MRC audited Canoe and found that its measurement of ad impressions conforms with MRC standards.

“We congratulate Canoe on this noteworthy achievement,” said George W. Ivie, CEO and executive director of the MRC. “Canoe’s Video On Demand Dynamic Ad Insertion platform is the first ad-serving process to be accredited for advertising distributed through cable operator VOD services.  After a comprehensive review we have concluded Canoe’s methods for serving ads through set-top box devices complies with MRC’s Minimum Standards for Media Rating Research, as well as relevant industry ad-serving guidelines.”

May 12, 2016

AdWeek: Why Digital Video Players Should Stop Comparing Their Viewership to TV

YouTube, Fullscreen take misleading shots at traditional media

Fullscreen compared its male viewership to AMC’s highly-rated The Walking Dead. Fullscreen/AMC

Numbers never lie. But they can surely be manipulated.

And during the past two weeks of NewFronts presentations, digital video players took that to heart.

During YouTube’s Brandcast, CEO Susan Wojcicki made the bold claim that “on mobile alone, YouTube now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any network.” And she didn’t stop there, adding that the online video hub reaches more young adults during prime time than the top 10 TV shows combined.

Wojcicki wasn’t the only one launching verbal missiles at traditional television. Just a few days later, as multichannel network Fullscreen was touting its evolution into a full-fledged media company, its head of sales Kevin McGurn added even more fuel to the fire.

Fullscreen is rolling up its top 25 male- and female-skewing channels and selling it as one package to advertisers, dubbed HisScreen and HerScreen, allowing brands to make a single buy across popular creators’ channels like Grace Helbig and the Fine Brothers.

Instead of letting that do the talking, McGurn decided to compare the combined reach of those packages to single television programs, which is becoming a popular way for digital players to compare themselves to television. For example, McGurn said the combined reach of the HisScreen channels was comparable to college football’s Sugar Bowl and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

“I think they’re [making these comparisons] because they need a big number,” Charlie Fiordalis, Chief Digital Officer at Media Storm, told Adweek. “But I don’t see it necessarily as a meaningful number.”

May 6, 2016

WSJ: MCNs Contend With Ad Buyer Fatigue

Brands can reach audience for Web video stars via direct influencer deals and programmatic channels that are less labor intensive

Some ad buyers are starting to wonder whether working with multichannel networks—the high-flying collectives of Web video talent known in the industry as “MCNs”–is worth all the trouble.

In the last five years, MCNs such as Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Stylehaul and many others became buzzy media upstarts ostensibly for their ability to help advertisers connect with digital creators and influencers—and their young, TV-avoiding fans. They started out selling ads across YouTube channels centered on themes like gaming but evolved into part talent agencies and part production firms for YouTube stars, eventually branching out to platforms beyond the Google-owned video site.

These middlemen brokering deals between brands and social influencers also attractedmajor investments along the way; for instance, Walt Disney Co.’s $500 million cashpurchase of Maker in 2014 that also came with hefty payouts if Maker hits performance targets.

But now, as major MCNs like Whistle Sports and Studio71 make their pitches to advertisers this week and next during the annual “NewFronts,” the question is whether ad buyers are still as receptive to their messages.

“I think there is a little bit of a hangover going into the NewFronts this year,” said Donald Williams, chief digital officer at the media buying firm Horizon Media. “Brands are saying, ‘Let’s make sure we are maximizing our spending and reaching new people.’”

May 6, 2016

CNBC: Digital publishers race to score deals … on TV!

Though much is touted about the growth of audiences on digital media and migration away from television, many of these online-first networks are striving to strike TV deals. Huh?

On Wednesday, Vox Media announced its first TV deal. A+E Networks’FYI has ordered a 30-minute series with a working title of “Prefabulous.” It will be produced by Vox Entertainment and its digital real estate and home website Vox’s Curbed.

“As our company grows and as the TV landscape changes and as the business model shifts, we have a real opportunity to have a seat at the table at the future of television — which is on-demand, high quality programming,” said Chad Mumm, vice president of Vox Entertainment.