It’s kick-off day for the Digital Content NewFronts, the spring season when online publishers emerge to showcase their upcoming content offerings to interested advertisers.

As Variety reports: “Digital players such as Hulu, YouTube and Vice are all slated to pitch Madison Avenue power brokers at this year’s slimmed down NewFronts, which kick off April 30 as a complement to TV’s annual upfronts. This year’s lineup is smaller overall but more tightly focused on premium content companies.”

As well as the shift to premium, what else could be different?

One media agency exec wants to see a more concerted commitment from publishers on how they can use their data in ad campaigns.

“With regard to the NewFront, one of the things that has come up historically has been almost an abstract discussion of data,” says Zenith  Media digital investment EVP Will Warren.

“I think what needs to come into play is, ‘How are publishers themselves using those types of information that they own specifically to help drive their own business forward?’

“I think the potential is still there but it is one that is I’d say slightly unfocused, that maybe it needs to have a bit more focus as we shape solutions moving forward.”

The NewFronts, almost by definition, are centered on how publishers use content to sell ad space to advertisers. But, in the new advertising world, agencies like Warren’s also want to see that they can offer audience data as part of the sell.

It’s not that Warren doesn’t see the value of content in its own right.

“The value of some premium content producers is that it’s not only a brand-safe environment, it’s one that should be brand accretive as well,” he says. “The context of what is being the story that’s being told, the opportunity to connect more deeply with that content in a way as marketer that could have much more value in that front.”

But he wants publishers to go deeper with data, saying: “Data by itself is dumb.”

This video is part of a series titled The Road to the Digital Content NewFronts. It is a preview of topics to be explored at IAB’s NewFronts, which begin on April 30. This series is presented by Meredith Corporation. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.