It is now 15 years since digital media publishers have had their own version of TV’s upfronts sales season – so how is IAB’s NewFronts changing?

In the middle of last week’s 2023 NewFronts, where more than 40 events showcased offerings from even more sellers, IAB CEO David Cohen sat down with Beet.TV to take a snapshot.

Opening access

Cohen said organizers had endeavoured to “make it simpler and easier to digest more of the information in one place at one time”.

“Coupled with the fact that we want to democratize access to the NewFronts, we want to bring people who might not be able to afford a Lincoln Center or a big venue for lots of people. There’s a lot of small and mid-size players who have tremendous innovation. We wanted to give them a stage as well.”

Cohen says IAB has “absorbed the cost” of that democracy, changing “a nominal fee” for presenters “and hopefully get  a mass group of people here to experience folks that they might not have been able to see otherwise”.

Digital business

Although the NewFronts is but a small part of the calendar, Cohen says it still accounts for a huge slice of annual digital ad sales.

Events like the COVID-19 pandemic showed advertisers demanding the agility to switch and alter their spending at short notice – but, arguably, digital media afford exactly that capability.

Even though the digital marketplace is becoming a 24/7, 365-days-a-year, responsive environment, Cohen claims that “between 50 and 75% of their (sellers’) annual business gets written over a two-month period.”

Strut your stuff

Cohen was speaking just ahead of the IAB’s second big upfront week, the Podcast Upfront, starting May 11, hearing from the around 20 presenters from likes of iHeart, NPR and Wondery but also TransUnion and ArtsAI.

“They are a very passionate group of folks,” Cohen says. “It’s obviously smaller than the video ecosystem, but it’s also about niche audiences.

“It’s a $2 billion-plus business now, going to be a $4 billion business, over the next two years. So we want to give them an opportunity to kind of strut their stuff as well.”

You’re watching Beet.TV’s coverage of the 2023 IAB NewFronts, presented by Teads. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.