Takeaways from the 2023 IAB NewFronts
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Across a jam-packed lineup of speakers and brand activations, the latest advancements in video and streaming TV were front and center at this year’s NewFronts presentations. Hosted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in New York City, the annual four-day event featured a host of creators, media executives, and award-winning talent alongside media companies like YouTube, Amazon, Samsung, and Meta, to unveil new content offerings and media projects.
In his opening remarks, IAB CEO David Cohen shared that ad spend in the U.S. grew twice as fast across digital video formats compared to the overall digital media market in 2022, with digital video advertising projected to hit $55 billion in 2023. With 85 percent of U.S. households using at least one CTV device—up from 80 percent in 2020—the future of video and streaming has never been brighter.
To help advertisers navigate the headlines and news announcements coming out of the 2023 IAB NewFronts, we’ve outlined PMG’s top takeaways from the event.
Snap, Roku, Samba, and Samsung, to name a few, unveiled new ad formats and targeting tools that leverage AI technology to augment creative assets and better understand audience behaviors. With the video and streaming landscape only growing more fragmented, the surge in more smart, connected TV devices and free ad-supported streaming TV platforms (FAST), alongside ad-supported video-on-demand subscription tiers (AVOD), means that advertising opportunities are everywhere. Roku announced that ads are coming soon to the “Roku City” home screen, Samsung unveiled multi-screen shoppable content, and Snap teased a new ad format within its My AI chatbot.
“The NewFronts sent a strong message that the streaming wars are heating up, with everyone vying for TV advertising budgets,” said Kia Igel, brand media supervisor at PMG, to The Wall Street Journal.
As the media landscape expands and evolves, countless media brands and streaming platforms touted new adtech advancements that bridge the gap between content and commerce. Amazon Ads, for example, highlighted a number of just-released and upcoming shoppable content capabilities designed to help brands reach the right audiences with the right messages at the right times to deliver more seamless content-to-commerce experiences.
Related: This year’s NewFronts presentations featured more diverse, bilingual, and minority-owned media companies than ever before, including Blavity, Canela TV, Cocina, and iOne Digital.
While not an official presenter listed on the 2023 NewFronts schedule, KERV was frequently highlighted as a critically-important adtech partner for bringing shoppable content to life. Both Samsung Ads and NBCUniversal’s Peacock outlined how KERV’s technology allows for automating interactive video creative and product placements. Brands are empowered with greater control over user engagement and finding efficiencies across content formats at scale. Similarly, Crackle announced a new partnership with Amazon Publisher Direct slated for later this year that will enable interactive and shoppable ads within the Amazon DSP.
Streaming behemoths like Netflix and Disney aren’t the only companies investing in original content. Amazon is betting that Freevee will continue its growth, announcing even more original content programming for 2024. Freevee is also rolling out an all-new brand storytelling ad format that “gives advertisers the ability to tell a story over multiple, sequential ad breaks” on the streaming platform, according to Alan Moss, VP of global advertising sales at Amazon Ads, in Digiday.
At this year’s NewFronts, Vizio announced its AVOD streaming service WatchFree+, which will feature 260 linear TV channels. Vizio also touted a new home screen hero ad unit that encourages viewers to tune in and engage with brand storefronts, video ads, and more directly on the Vizio TV home screen.
Similarly, Roku teased its slate of upcoming originals while Crackle is doubling down on its commitment for storytelling with purpose, announcing new titles such as Sherlock, Inside the Black Box, and Just for Kicks, with several opportunities for brand integrations within these series.
Throughout this week at the Newfronts, social platforms like Meta, TikTok, and YouTube reinforced their commitments to short-form video formats by unveiling a robust product roadmap for the remainder of the year. From Meta’s AR ads to Snapchat’s partnership with Togethxr, advertisers will soon have a new suite of ad formats and tools at their fingertips to help craft more engaging storytelling experiences across platforms.
Related: PMG’s Adrian Crasto in Digiday on the top takeaways from Snap’s 2023 NewFronts presentation.
TikTok’s new Pulse Premiere, which bears similarities to YouTube Select, creates contextual marketing opportunities by allowing advertisers to buy the corresponding video after a video from a member of TikTok’s Pulse Premier publishing partner list (Buzzfeed, Condé Nast, DotDash Meredith, Hearst Magazines, NBCUniversal and Vox Media, as well as Major League Soccer, UFC, and WWE). Meanwhile, YouTube is investing in its fast-growing YouTube Shorts by rolling out new ad formats, equipping advertisers with new ways to engage with the more than 1.5 billion viewers watching YouTube Shorts every month.
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From new measurement partnerships to more investments in AR/VR advertising, AI technology, and digital video formats, this year’s NewFronts reinforced the surging growth across video and streaming, signaling that the TV landscape’s increasing fragmentation offers endless opportunities for advertisers to engage with viewers across content formats, platforms, and storytelling experiences.
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