I stood in a long line waiting to get into Turner’s 2017 Digital Content NewFronts event, which was held in Skylight Clarkson North, which was built in 1933 to house and unload trains from the historic High Line track, and now functions as one of the city’s largest and most exclusive venues. That gave me lots of time to talk with media buyers. And, yes, there were lots of media buyers among the 700 people in line. The junior ones were sent into events early to hold seats for the client and the senior agency executives. The mid-level media buyers played rock-paper-scissors with their colleagues to see who covered one of the 34 events. And the senior ones, who had been to Digital Content NewFronts for several years, wondered why more attention wasn’t paid to measurement.
Oh, a senior media buyer who didn’t want his or her name used, let me know why programmatic buying hadn’t decimated the jobs of human media buyers. Although agency executives had expected programmatic buying to reduce their headcount and costs, that hasn’t happened – because there are 97 different flavors of ad-tech and the agency still needs people to use duct tape and bailing wire to place video ads. At the same time, programmatic buying had started as a way to sell remnant space, so it got the reputation for being a source of cheap inventory. But, even The New York Times has a director of Programmatic advertising, but their inventory commands premium prices. So, my hypothesis is dead wrong – and I need to go shopping for a New York Yankees sweater.
But, wait. Isn’t this supposed to be a column about the Turner NewFronts? Um, that’s why I was standing in line that stretched down the street and around the corner. But, when I finally got inside, there wasn’t much news to report. The event featured lunch. And a sales pitch for the Bleacher Report. And a teaser by Casey Neistat about his new project for CNN. I got more strategic insights standing in line, although the highlight of the lunch was the Triple Double Surprise cupcake, which featured chocolate chip with chocolate frosting.
Turner & Bleacher Report
Now, I could summarize the Bleacher Report’s sales pitch. But, if you are really interested in that topic, read Christopher Heine’s story in Adweek, which is entitled, “How Bleacher Report May Be Digitally Minded Turner’s Next Global Conquest.” For what it’s worth, B/R has an audience of 250 million people, gets over 100 million social interactions a month, and has an engagement rate that is 5X higher than its competitors. I would have appreciated more critical data like that, but the rest of the pitch sounded like it was being made by Crazy Eddie instead of Bleacher Report CEO Dave Finocchio.
Still, I was optimistic when the movable feast moved to another part of the room and YouTube star Casey Neistat was interviewed by CNN President Jeff Zucker. We learned that Neistat’s project will debut this summer. Neistat then revealed that the project, which will have a presence on Facebook and YouTube, will be focused more on news than initially planned, though he reminded the audience that he is not a trained journalist. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve done in my entire life,” he added. That’s it. That’s all I got. Oh, wait. They also played “Samsung Galaxy: The Rest of Us.”
Ok, that’s a wrap. I want to thank Doug Goodman, who is shooting photos of the 2017 Digital Content NewFronts for the IAB, for giving me permission to use a couple of them for this story.
There were other things to see and hear. For example, I went over to the White House press briefing room and got my picture taken in New York City wearing my bright red Boston Red Sox sweater. But, nobody seemed to notice. They were too busy talking with each other to notice. Hey, they’ve seen everything. Nothing shocks these people anymore.
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