The surging popularity of streaming services in the past year has made the convergence of digital video and linear TV more of a reality. This year’s NewFront marked a watershed moment in the ongoing evolution of digital video as media consumption shifts to connected devices like smart TVs.
” Fourteen years ago, when we established the NewFront, it really was to give digital video its own ‘place in the sun’ prior to the TV ad dollars that were being committed at the upfronts,” Jodi Robinson, chief executive of Digitas North America, a unit of Publicis Groupe, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “This year’s NewFront was a convergence of so much of what we’re seeing now.”
Since last year, the streaming landscape has grown more crowded with the launch of streaming platforms including NBCUniversal’s Peacock, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ and Discovery’s Discovery+. The range of services gives consumers more control over the viewing experience.
Last year “we had this assumption that as consumers there would be a limited set of streaming services they would sign on to,” Robinson said. “We’re seeing now that there is just an insatiable appetite for content, for the number of streaming services people are willing to sign on to, and also maybe a lack of loyalty. They’ll come in and out platforms based on new, original content.”
The growth in connected TV gives advertisers more ways to reach diverse audiences, which was another key theme of this year’s NewFront, Robinson said.
“What we saw this year was a true commitment by so many of our partners — both in front of the camera, behind the camera — to put diversity and inclusion front and center in both programming and opportunities in the production staff,” she said.
At its NewFront, Digitas and household appliance brand KitchenAid showcased their collaboration with Reese’s Book Club, which is owned by Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine, on a four-part digital series called “Eat the Book.” Hosted by Christina Milian, each episode paired an author featured in the book club with a chef or mixologist to create a dish or drink inspired by the book, using KitchenAid cookware and appliances.
“The conversation was just fabulous,” Robinson said. “It really showed also the place that KitchenAid could play in bringing those experiences.”