Amid all the hoopla that accompanies the Digital Content NewFronts, something more substantial is taking place. It’s the blurring of lines between traditional and digital media, as evidenced by the growing number of new partnerships.

Whether it’s Twitter and ESPN or Disney and Tastemade, “To me, that was very encouraging seeing all these partnerships form and bringing premium video into a more expanded space,” Francois Lee says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Among the deluge of announcements at the NewFronts, Disney revealed that the launch of the Disney Eats brand, partnering with online foodie network Tastemade to develop original content, as Deadline reports.

As someone who works primarily in the television space, the EVP of Video Investment at media agency Assembly is always on the lookout for “places where we can find premium TV-like video in a brand-safe environment with scale.”

Besides acknowledging the nexus of digital and traditional TV, Lee comes away from the NewFronts presentations impressed by the increasing number of publishers launching their own over-the-top channels. “It’s definitely table stakes now,” he says.

While content was front and center at the NewFronts, performance metrics or guarantees were less so. “I think there’s an expectation that if you’re in digital video you’ll be able to provide digital video like metrics, which is not always the case of course.”

Lee is encouraged by better TV-targeting options from the likes of OpenAP, calling it a “healthy trend.” While measurement still needs to advance, “from an attribution model standpoint there’s a lot more we know about what networks what dayparts what programs are driving ROI.”

The missing piece is incremental improvement on ROI on the back end of campaigns.

“We need the networks to say, ‘if you’re going to create this data-led approach then you need to guarantee me ROI on the back end,’” for example guaranteeing performance on age/sex demos plus one of an advertiser’s own targets. “We want an actual ROI on the back end, which I think would really put skin in the game for the networks,” Lee adds.

“We’re definitely seeing improvements from last year to this year. We’re not quite there yet, but I think we’ve made quite a lot of progress in a year.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the Digital Content NewFronts 2018. The series a co-presentation of Beet.TV and the IAB. Please see additional videos from the series on this page.