5 Hacks to a Successful Newfront, from GOVA

/ Dec 3, 2014

Digital Content Newfronts

The 2015 Digital Content Newfronts are still five months away. But if you’re one of the companies planning to host such an event during the industry-wide digital video showcase next year, it’s not too early to start planning what hopefully is a successful event.

To help you out, the Global Online Video Association, an organization focused on advancing the agenda of YouTube multi-channel networks in the larger online video industry, has released a guide that outlines what goes into a successful Newfront.

Because let’s be honest, hosting a Newfront isn’t easy. While online video continues to make gains in terms of viewership and ad spend, it still has some hurdles to jump if it wants to attract more TV-sized ad dollars. A well-planned and executed Newfront is a good start.

More than anything else, perhaps, a Newfrond should take into account your company’s specific “brand and positioning,” according to Paul Kontonis, the executive director of GOVA, and former DigitasLBi executive who was with the agency when it helped launch the first Digital Content Newfronts.

But what, exactly, does he mean? What are your event options, and how exactly do you go about setting one up?

Here are some “hacks” from GOVA to get you started:

1. Figure Out What Kind of Event Is Right For You

First of all, Kontonis called those best-suited to hosting a Newfronts event “media companies which combine original digital video programming with distribution at scale.” If that describes your company, your next thought ought to be, “What do we want to show off?” According to GOVA, most Newfronts can be whittled down into four types of events:

  • A content-driven showcase of upcoming programming, all delivered via presentations from a stage.
  • An expo-style event that focuses more on displaying the video content and solutions offered by the company.
  • A party that brings together talent, producers, potential advertisers, existing sponsors, and — most importantly — the ad-sales team.
  • Some combination of the above.

The type of event you host should be based on the type of company you are. This is especially important for the MCN community, which ranges from networks fashioning themselves as new types of video producers and distributors, to networks functioning more as talent firms. A producer (a network in the traditional sense) could choose the first option, whereas a company that focuses more on talent representation and brand deals (most MCNs) should probably go with the third option.

2. Make a Mock Guest List

Counting out the number of people you’ll have at your event will help determine what kind of venue you’ll want to book. Also, who’s attending (staff, brands, talent?) will no doubt affect your budget.

3. Calculate What You’re Willing to Spend

Your budget is more complex than just the guest list. How long will your staff need to set up the event and then wrap up, later? Who’s speaking, and how much can you pay them to do that, or will they be someone from the company who’s willing to do it simply as part of their job? Also, factor in time. Traveling costs are only part of this—there’s also possible rehearsal time and plenty of extra meetings.

4. Remember, Part of the Budget Might Go to the IAB — But It Doesn’t Have To

Of course, you have the option to registering your Newfront as an “official IAB event,” which entails certain fees. However, you also have the option to hold an independent event. As Kontonis described, “Over the last few years, we have seen many companies produce a variety of independent Newfronts event. An independent event does not get listed in the IAB Newfronts calendar, and that seems to be the only drawback.”

In previous years, companies ranging from Fullscreen to NBCUniversal have held independent events during Newfronts week.

5. Schedule with Care

If you pick a slot because that seems like the time of day you’ll feel like mustering the energy to be on your best game, that might not be the smartest approach. Rather, you should look into when other big-name networks are presenting and choose a slot at a time when your target audience won’t likely be busy somewhere else.

These are only some of the things to think about before the day of the event. For more, check out GOVA’s 2015 guide, embedded right here:

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