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Are the digital NewFronts becoming as effective as the TV Upfronts?

Another season of primetime television buying is nearing it’s end. The TV upfronts are a stable of the television sales cycle that help keep the billions of dollars of ad spending flowing in consistently. The NewFronts, originally started by Digitas have now grown tremendously and have provided web video networks including Hulu, YouTube and Blip show off their new content. While the NewFronts continue to grow each year, their effectiveness in selling a non-linear slate of web content has always been in question. Blip, one of the largest web video networks participated in the NewFronts for the first time and also invested in traditional media to get the word out. We interviewed Blip CEO Kelly Day and President, Sales & Marketing, Jason Krebs about their big year.

Lost Remote: Were the NewFronts a success this year? Overall? For Blip? More so than last year? Less?
Kelly Day: This was Blip’s first NewFront and we were thrilled with the results. We had a great mix of media executives and press at the event and it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the shows and talent we’re most excited about, including Mainly Murder with Rob Huebel, our host, and The Great S. Cape from Dark Knight executive producer, Michael Uslan. We also showcased our new partnerships with Ray William Johnson, Fremantle Media and MyDamnChannel.

LR: Why do the NewFronts happen at the same time as the upfronts? What did Blip do for the NewFronts? 
Jason Krebs: It’s a good time to capitalize on the energy and attention that the marketers are paying to video content overall. This was especially true this year as more marketers understand that viewing time happens across many different screens and platforms. From the feedback we received, we brought a new focus to integration opportunities for professional video content creation, and the fun and entertaining aspect of our show itself was also very much appreciated..

LR: Blip has run a lot of fun ads, on subways (elsewhere?). Why the decision to market on traditional media? 
Day: The subways ads were our first traditional media brand campaign and we were really pleased with the brand feedback. We had a large number of fans tell us how much they loved the ads and post their pictures at #blipspotting. We will continue to experiment with a variety of media as part of our ongoing efforts to connect audiences with shows they will love.

LR: As someone who’s been involved in traditional TV and the web world, what’s stopping web video from standardizing the sales process as much as traditional TV has? 
Krebs: The fact is that the each side of the sales process is learning from eachother. Digital video capitalizes on a lean forward aspect for content consumption and unique targeting, integration and engagement opportunities. Those are now becoming techniques traditional TV is employing. Also largely unreported are the amount of overlay type advertising TV is using, which of course came straight from digital heritage. On the tv side, there is basically a calendar neutral perspective for show releases which is a substantial break from the broadcast calendar that has been typical for so long. Also the buyers are getting better at executing across both platforms simultaneously which is a great advancement that will benefit everyone.
LR: Were the NewFronts a success this year? Overall? For Blip? More so than last year? Less?
Day and Krebs: This was Blip’s first NewFront and we were thrilled with the results. We had a great mix of media executives and press at the event and it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the shows and talent we’re most excited about, including Mainly Murder with Rob Huebel, our host, and The Great S. Cape from Dark Knight executive producer, Michael Uslan. We also showcased our new partnerships with Ray William Johnson, Fremantle Media and MyDamnChannel.
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