Stream On: The 2022 NewFronts Trending Topics

By Kendra Tang, Programmatic Supervisor

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) NewFronts, similar to television’s Upfronts, is an annual event showcasing publishers’ upcoming programming and “new” viewing formats to ad buyers. This year’s focus can be categorized into two buckets: connected TV (CTV) and social media. More specifically, the heart of the presentations circled around either product placement and/or analytics and measurement. What content is available? How do consumers use the countless streaming services available to them? How can brands take advantage? And what can we anticipate for the future?

Two overarching themes appeared across both CTV and social media platforms: brand safety and identity:

Brand Safety. Social media platforms rely heavily on ads to drive revenue, but brand safety and freedom of speech concerns are increasingly at odds due to the nature of user-generated content (UGC) platforms. As a result, more and more brands are reconsidering UGC ad investments, especially with midterm elections on the horizon, and are challenging social platforms for increased transparency on content moderation. Trusted partnerships and connections have never been more important and there are predictions that budgets could shift to premium media and ad-supported CTV.
Identity. CTV, inclusive of over-the-top (OTT) media, promises scale in a brand-safe environment and on the largest screen in the home. In addition, CTV also offers the 1:1 addressability of digital media. However, addressability is facing identity challenges propelled by the dismantling of common identifiers such as cookies on the open web and in-app device IDs. Some of these challenges stem from privacy concerns and others from the walled gardens and tech companies trying to gain an advantage on next-generation hardware and content. It is an inevitable and universal challenge all brands are experiencing.

Concerns aside, IAB forecasted this year’s CTV ad spend to grow by 39% from last year. Below are some of the ad products and updates contributing to that growth:

Amazon

  • IMDB TV’s advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) offering rebranded as Freevee, including some Disney material
  • Virtual Product Placement (VPP) allows brands to insert their ads into Prime Video and Freevee original content
  • Sports on Prime Video expanded their partnership with the NFL (the exclusive streamer of Thursday Night Football starting this year)
  • Twitch released a rewarded ad viewing mechanism and added an ad management tool
  • Amazon Music expanded their offering

LG

  • New rollouts announced: outcome-based guarantees, interactive units (QR codes), sports & events packages, studies offered with PG (programmatic guarantee) buys
  • More information to come on a global expansion (including exclusive content), open ecosystem

NBCU/ Peacock

  • Currently 28 million monthly active accounts (60+ million monthly active users) and continuing to grow since its launch two years ago
  • Introduced the following ad formats:
    • Binge ads – exclusive sponsorship rewarding viewers with an ad-free episode
    • Frame ads – appear on screen during shows creating more formats for advertisers to play with
    • Solo ads – exclusive sponsorship that limits advertising to exactly what it sounds like— a single advertiser within an entire episode of a show
    • Scene ads – allows advertisers to insert images into the background of shows (similar to Amazon’s VPP)

Roku

  • Roku Channel is focused on developing more Roku Originals (i.e. Idea Home, Martha Cooks, Martha Garden, Martha Holidays, Emeril Cooks, Emeril Tailgates, My Family’s Recipe, Milkstreet Cooking School, Weird Al Biopic)
  • Roku Brand Studio will include 12 short-form films across multiple genres such as drama, comedy, documentary, animation, and an unscripted reality show
  • OneView introduced shoppable TV ads in tangent with working more closely with Microsoft to understand how TV drives brand lift and online search
  • Roku introduced its data clean room

Samsung

  • Largest single source of ACR (automatic content recognition) data
  • 2022 ad experiences include game console takeover, universal guide, app store, discovery masthead
  • New: Smart TV UI; Gaming Hub (launching later this year)

Vizio

  • Vizio Enact announced the expansion of its suite of analytics including data collected via their ACR technology
  • WatchFree+ relaunched ad-supported streaming TV service with linear TV Channels (A+E, CNN, Fox, NFL) and doesn’t require a subscription or a login

Meta

  • Expressed a few new product announcements and is focused on its vision for Metaverse (creators will lead the way)
  • Meta is where stories are told, where creators thrive and brands are built”

Twitter

  • Building its ad capabilities via partnerships with broadcasters to introduce Twitter Amplify, a premium video product

Snapchat

  • Announced partnership with Cameo to enable brands access to the talent
  • Introduced Snap Promote – this ad format is designed to drive further reach of content partners

TikTok

  • Announced the launch of Pulse, a contextual advertising tool that will allow brands to advertise alongside top-performing content in the ‘For You’ feed
  • Discussed a plan to launch its first advertising revenue share program with creators, new public features, and adding media publishers on the platform

This article is featured in Media Impact Report No. 35. View the full report here.

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