If anyone could discern a possible sea change in the formerly one-day event called the NewFront it would be Michael Kassan. The Chairman and CEO of strategic advisory and business development firm MediaLink witnessed its birthing by Digitas and has become an integral player as the event morphed over the years.
And so it is that Kassan possibly senses “a little bit of a change” in the throng of festivities now officially called the Digital Content Newfronts under the auspices of the Internet Advertising Bureau. It’s slightly unusual that some companies opted out of the NewFronts events this year.
“Maybe that is some indication that we’ve reached sort of a tipping point in the onslaught, the rolling thunder if you will of two solid weeks of presentation after presentation,” he says in this interview with Beet.TV.
What is new this year is a backdrop of negative headlines for some of the digital giants that have roamed the landscape with abandon for a time long. Kassan cites the “seemingly impregnable” Facebook, Google and YouTube and notes that Alphabet recently exceeded analyst financial expectations.
“Hard to say that they’re feeling any heat from the recent discussions around safe places for content,” Kassan observes. “But I think it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out across the landscape of digital video this year.”
In a similar vein, he recalls how last fall Facebook was the subject of concern over some of its self-reported metrics. “I think they took the highest road, found what was ailing them and stood up with the advertisers and have made great progress in terms of third-party measurement and opening up a little crack in the walled gardens,” says Kassan.
Through it all, MediaLink itself continues to morph and expand in the wake of its recent sale to Ascential, which operates the Cannes Lions ad festival. Late last month, MediaLink announced the hiring of Dana Anderson, formerly SVP and CMO at Mondelēz International, to the position of CMO.
Additionally, MediaLink added an outpost in London, to be helmed by Vice Chairman Wenda Harris Millard as of June 1.
“One of the trades said we were invading Europe. I don’t know about that, but Wenda said she bought a pair of combat boots just to be ready. Here we come,” says Kassan.
This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.