NewFronts Day 3: Diverse-owned media companies tout their multicultural audience reach, plus a Q&A with IAB’s CEO

Hosted on the IAB’s mainstage, day three of the organization’s annual four-day NewFronts focused on ad tech products and media companies pitching their ability to reach multicultural audiences, such as the U.S. Hispanic and LGBTQ+ markets.

The key details:

  • Q&A with IAB CEO David Cohen
  • BBC talks up its U.S. expansion
  • Raptive offers a new way to buy ads around diverse-owned creator content
  • Telly makes their NewFronts debut, while Samba TV touts its AI-powered tools
  • A range of media companies pitch their ability to reach multicultural audiences, with new partnerships and ad formats this year

Q&A with IAB’s David Cohen

Digiday’s senior media editor Tim Peterson spoke with IAB CEO David Cohen to find out why the NewFronts are important compared to the Upfronts (and why the two events are unlikely to combine – for now), what topics are standing out at this year’s NewFronts (hint: it’s two letters). Peterson and Cohen also discussed the role of the IAB amid Google’s latest third-party cookie deprecation delay – and shared more details on the IAB Tech Lab working with Google PAIR.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

First question is the perpetual question: Now with YouTube, Amazon and Netflix doing Upfronts Week, what’s the point of NewFronts?

I find that the industry, just human nature, loves the competition, the us vs. them, Upfronts vs. NewFronts. And I honestly don’t see it that way. We have a video marketplace that has a lot to talk about. And the time-space continuum, it does not allow us to put all that into a single week. The more urgent question to me is, How long do the Upfronts or NewFronts stay relevant in a world where we’re in the market all the time, optimizing 24/7. And then the other thing, which I’ve been hearing more and more, people are talking about moving the timing potentially from this time of year because the timing of this is really just reasonably irrelevant in the current marketplace. As you know, it is based on when new cars were introduced, and everyone was on a broadcast year, which starts in Q4. So the question is, does this move to the fall eventually? Does this move to a calendar-year cadence?

To align with budget planning season

Yeah. I think everyone’s locked into timing and venues, so this is probably a two- or three-year horizon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we moved to the fall.

I don’t remember if it was when we had you on the Digiday Podcast or somewhere else, but you’ve expressed having an ambition for one day to be able to bring the NewFronts and the Upfronts together in some capacity. What’s the latest there?

When I joined IAB,I had a – well, first of all, it was COVID, so that was a little bit atypical. But I had conversations with many of the the heads of sales at all the large TV networks, and everyone is kind of habituated into “We own this slot at this time on this day,” and they weren’t willing to give it up. I do think, if you look at Paramount as an example, they made a pretty audacious move last year when they pulled out of the Upfront [presentations]; they’re just doing individual meetings with holding companies. Now, from what I understand this might not be a huge money savings, but it is performing as well, if not better, than the big social gathering they used to do before. I think the market is changed sufficiently, so that if we keep on doing the same thing over and over again, that’s bizarre. So keep on questioning, I think, is my feedback.

One of the values of events like NewFronts is getting a finger on the pulse of what’s new in the industry, what’s the latest that’s going on. Is there any one new thing that has stood out to you so far this week?

If I had to do one or two – the obvious one and the one that’s more interesting – AI has been part of almost every conversation. Eighteen months ago, no one was talking about it. Now it’s part of every single presentation. That’s the easy answer. The other one that I think is more interesting is the disaggregation of audiences is real. There is more opportunity for audiences to chase content than ever before. I have seen many presentations that are trying to connect the dots in a more meaningful way, either within their own house, multiple platforms, with them and partners. We’re in a mass business. So getting these niche audiences is great, but at the end of the day, we have to move mass products.

We’ve gotta get a cookie question in

Do it.

What now for IAB? What’s the role you are playing in the industry trying to figure out what to do after Google’s latest third-party cookie deprecation delay?

Three things. Number one, the thing we hear more often than not from the brand side is, ‘I don’t know what you want me to be doing.’ We continue to talk about, ‘Don’t sit on the sidelines; get engaged; get active.’ We need to come up with a very, very clear playbook for if you’re a brand or a marketer, these are the things you need to be trying, testing, working with your Google counterparts, working with your DSP counterparts. Number two, the fear that we have that this delay will continue to take people’s foot off the gas. We’re trying to implore people to take it seriously still. I do think it’s a reprieve that it move from Q4 [2024] to early next year. And then Google’s in a tough spot. They have to satisfy a lot of different masters. We’re going to make sure we channel industry feedback to them. We’re going to be the truth arbiter. And now that they’re in the tent, they’re working with [IAB] Tech Lab in their next version of their document, they’ll be able to answer the questions in real time.

This is a question more for Anthony Katsur at IAB Tech Lab, but what about Tech Lab taking over Privacy Sandbox and open-source that, like what was announced with PAIR earlier this week?

Sandbox is, it’s a little bit of a lightning rod, and I don’t see it as exactly the same thing as PAIR. At the end of the day, this is a Chrome development that exists within the browser. Google owns those APIs. I’m not sure if the same thing could be done with Sandbox.

But it seems like having Tech Lab come in, open-source it – it becomes a W3C issue – but at the same time, it feels like Privacy Sandbox would really need to be cross-browser instead of Chrome-specific.

Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

BBC pitches to marketers in an election year

First teased during Monday’s IAB session dedicated to news publishers, the BBC highlighted the new U.S. unit of its BBC Verify team – which fact checks information and video content before it appears on BBC’s platforms – to focus on the elections this year. BBC News and current affairs CEO Deborah Turness said it was part of the BBC’s efforts to combat the issue of distrust in news.

And it is an issue that’s growing. An annual report by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute published last year found trust in the news has fallen by two percentage points in the last year. The United States had a 6-point increase in trust in news year over year, to 32%, but remained among the lowest demographic in the survey.

The BBC has undergone a large marketing push in the U.S. in order to bring in ad revenue in this market (which the news organization can’t do at home in the U.K.).

Thanks to partnerships with Pluto, Samsung and Xumo, among others, the BBC’s flagship news brand has “almost tripled its reach over the course of the last couple of weeks” in the U.S., according to Rebecca Glashow, CEO of BBC global media & streaming.

Addressing the longstanding issue of brand safety when it comes to news content, Glashow also pitched non-hard news content to advertisers, noting that the BBC was investing in verticals like business, tech, sports and culture, and a podcast slate that has brought in 11 million downloads in the U.S., according to Glashow.

Raptive is providing verified diverse audiences

Raptive, a network of 5,000 publisher sites, announced a new ad solution that is the result of a partnership with BOMESI, a non-profit accelerator and advocate for sustainable investment in Black-owned media, and MAVEN, a third-party diversity verification firm with the goal to make it easier for buyers and agencies to identify diverse-owned media companies for their media budgets.

Called Raptive Represents, the offering aims to give advertisers access to content from over 500 diverse creators, verified by BOMESI and Maven.

Telly adds more ad formats for its free TVs

Telly, which offers people a free 4K TV in exchange for more data-driven ads, made its NewFronts debut with demos of a half dozen new ad formats. For example, a new format called Telly T-Commerce integrates ads with a new way to buy products with a click. Another demo for its “Dual Screen Take Over” shows a Pepsi can pouring out on Telly’s main big screen while ice and liquid rise on the smaller second screen below.

Along with its ad formats, Telly also announced new programmatic ad integrations with Index Exchange and Madhive along with expanded partnerships with PMG and other media agencies. Telly also debuted a new music app in collaboration with Vevo and a new fitness app that uses motion-tracking. — Marty Swant

Samba TV pitches AI tools for seeing people, products, logos

Samba TV announced a new combination of AI tools for identifying content, targeting audiences and measurement ad performance. New features include using facial recognition to identify actors and athletes on the screen across scripted shows, reality programas and sports events. The new Samba AI platform also will use visual AI – to identify logos, objects and products for brands and competitors – and ways measure brand suitability by detecting language and violence. However, Samba didn’t elaborate on stage to explain how the AI tools were developed or what kinds of guardrails are in place. 

The company is already beta testing ways for advertisers to use the additional context from AI to develop target audience segments. For example, advertisers create audience segments based on consumers that have watched a show where a brand or product has appeared on screen. One early tester is HP. Using Samba AI to measure its Real Madrid sponsorship, HP was able to see its logo show up 221 times during a single match and reach a half million households.

“What we’re really excited about is the ability to then take that and drive it into our actual measurement into our brand studies into our marketing models and so forth,” said HP vp of Global Media Freddie Liversedge while speaking on stage with Samba TV co-founder Ashwin Navin. “The industry, in regards to sponsorship, is really focused on panel based data historically. And this was able to give us real time data.” — Marty Swant

A showcase of diverse media offerings

The third day of the NewFronts was also dedicated in large part to a number of media companies focused on multicultural audiences, such as LATV, My Code, Canela, Estrella and Revry.

LATV spotlighted its new parent brand, LatiNation Media, which it officially formed last month. Its digital online video offers over 400 publishers. The company will launch a LatinNation.com content hub this fall, according to Gisella Fu-Ripp, svp of sales at LATV. Its linear network LATV has grown year over year by 10%, now reaching 62 million total households, and almost 15 million Hispanic households, she added.

Meanwhile, multicultural media and marketing services company My Code announced a new media group called Remezcla Media Group targeting the young U.S. Hispanic market. It will include over 500 publisher partners (including My Code’s digital brand Remezcla and Spanish-language newspaper El Diario). The company also spotlighted a partnership with Crackle, the ad-supported streaming company owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc, which will have the two companies producing six video series over the next year.

My Code also announced Remezcla will launch what it claims is the first-ever FAST channel dedicated to Gen Z Latino audiences focused on the music industry, and Remezcla Media Group will partner with GOAL.com to produce soccer coverage this summer, according to chief strategy officer Edgar Hernandez.

Also coming this summer is a relaunch of the app owned by Hispanic multicultural network Canela Media. The Canela.TV app will have new ad formats, including virtual product placement, an AI-powered contextual advertising solution (using the technology to determine the emotional context of a scene for ad placement) and a rewards program. The company also announced a partnership with WBD Conexión Latina, which will aim to reach bilingual U.S. Hispanic audiences. It will provide advertisers with access to WBD content, along with Spanish-language digital sports coverage from Canela Deportes.

Spanish-language company Estrella Media reported a 28% year-over-year growth in uniques on connected TV, to 13 million monthly aggregated viewers, according to René Santaella, chief digital & streaming officer. In a partnership with Curiosity Stream, the company will launch three, Spanish-language documentary FAST channels on Samsung TV Plus. MediaCo, the owner of radio stations in New York City, acquired Estrella Media’s network, content, digital and commercial operations in April.

Revry’s cabaret-themed presentation to marketers was perhaps the most unique session of the day, featuring the LGBTQ+ focused company’s co-founder and CEO Damian Pelliccione singing and dancing onstage, and a guest appearance from comedian Murray Hill.

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