After a couple of pandemic-impacted years, the IAB’s annual showcase for publishers to pitch their upcoming digital content slates to advertisers is getting underway.

Dubbed “Stream On”, IAB’s NewFronts, aimed ad brand marketers and agency professionals, runs May 2 to 5 as what IAB CEO David Cohen calls a “hybrid” event.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Cohen also reveals how connected TV is the driving force behind this year’s theme.

Hybrid hustle

“We’re obviously super excited about the NewFronts coming back in person,” Cohen says.

“We’ve had two years of really, really exceptional virtual presentations – very, very successful. One of the things that we have learned, as a collective industry, is how beneficial it could be to get a far broader swath of attendees in a virtual environment.

“We have presenters that wanted to do what they have historically done – get a venue, put together a production, which we are, live streaming on And then we have some presenters who preferred the benefits that virtual afforded.”

The event will take presentations from Peacock, Vizio, Tubi, Amazon, Samsung Ads, Roku, Conde Nast, Snapchat, Meta, Digitas, Blavity, Revolt, Black Enterprise, TikTok, Twitter, A+E Networks, Nielsen, Fubo TV, Dotdash Meredith, Comscore, LG Ads, Innovid, GSTV, Crackle Plus, Nuestra.TV, Samba TV, Tastemade, Estrella Media, Canela Media, The Recount, Vevo and WMX.

CTV research

Coinciding with NewFronts, IAB is publishing 2021 Video Ad Spend and 2022 Outlook, a report produced with Standard Media Index (SMI) and Advertiser Perceptions. Amongst the findings:

  • Connected TV (CTV) ad spend increased 57% in 2021 to $15.2 billion and is expected to grow an additional 39% in 2022 to $21.2 billion.
  • Three out of four video buyers (76%) label CTV as a ‘must buy’ in their media planning budgets.
  • Buyers felt CTV provided more transparency into where ads run.

But the report also uncovers buyer concerns including cross-platform measurement, frequency management, interoperability and supply chain fragmentation.

All-time high

“Consumers are choosing to stream just about everything all the time in whatever venue or whatever device that is most convenient for them,” Cohen says.

“The attention that consumers are giving streaming services is at an all-time high.

“Overall digital in 2021, this last year was up 35%, which is the most growth that we’ve seen in digital in the past 15 years, since 2006.”

Privacy warning

But Cohen sounded a warning about future CTV ad growth.

He imagines privacy restrictions that have hit digital identifiers coming to connected TV.

“I think that, eventually, IP address, which is kind of obviously important in the CTV ecosystem, will also be under kind of regulatory and privacy considerations,” Cohen says.

“But, for the moment, CTV seems to be a primary recipient of some of those dollars being reallocated. “