Google/YouTube, Yahoo, Hulu, more planning upfront


This April Google/YouTube, Yahoo, Hulu, AOL and Microsoft are planning a two-week upfront event in NYC, dubbed “Digital Content New Fronts.” Each company will take a different day to present different marketing opportunities to agencies and advertisers such as plans for upcoming video programming and original series.

Coming as more companies are creating more original video programming specifically for the Web, the event signals an intensifying effort by the online video world to challenge television.

“We need to show there is a new game in town,” Colin Kinsella, CEO of Digitas NA (the Publicis Groupe-owned agency that came up with the idea for the event) told WSJ.

After last year’s upfront, advertisers committed $9.3 billion on the television upfront. Some of those dollars will stay in the TV network’s online streaming offerings, but more than ever is going to go to the online-only programmers like Hulu and YouTube. They’ve got plenty of new programming that mimics that of TV networks.

See some recent developments in that vein:

As well, viewers don’t always have to wait until the next show airs. The whole eight or 13 episodes are there to view whenever they want with some of these offerings. More than 100 million Americans watched online video content on an average day, a 43% increase from the year prior, according to comScore.

But bear in mind, online dollars culled from the TV upfront doesn’t necessarily mean it will hurt the bottom line of the TV network ownership. Hulu, for example, is owned by Disney, Providence Equity Partners, Hulu employees, NBCUniversal  and News Corp.

The event will aim to underscore to advertisers the big gap that exists between the time consumers are spending on digital platforms and the amount of ad spend that the business is seeing.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s a little surprising but still understandable that these fiercely competitive online video providers would come together in a united front to pitch and better organize to make it easier for marketers to buy spots. By aligning their efforts they have a better chance of nudge advertisers to commit early to online ad packages—just like for TV. Right now, most online ad purchases are bought closer to when they stream. BTW, we’re a little surprised Netflix isn’t coming to this party.