Frontline Marketing

Digital Content Newfronts Shows That The State Of Social Video Is Still Going Strong

Outside view of IAB. Newfronts - a 10-Day Marketplace to Showcase for Brands and Agencies the Latest Original Digital Video Programming from Founding Partners—AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, and Yahoo—and 27 Other Leaders in Entertainment, News & Information

By | May 10, 2017 |

IAB’s Digital Content Newfronts is still going strong, and one thing is for sure—social video is on just about everyone’s mind.

In its annual study, IAB found that marketers allocate 31 percent of digital and mobile video ad budgets to social media, so it should come as no surprise that it’s a hot topic among presentations this year. From original content on YouTube Red to live shows across Facebook and Twitter to partnerships with social media stars, brands are doubling down on content for this engaged market.

The New “Face” Of Digital Entertainment

Live broadcasts now make up 20 percent of video on Facebook, according to a post by Fidji Simo, Facebook’s vice president of product. Simo went on to say that the number of broadcasts has grown more than four times over the last year, and that will continue with original branded programming.

Today show contributor and serial entrepreneur Mario Armstrong has successfully launched a full-scale talk show with a live studio audience that is connected with an interactive audience online. The Never Settle Show is a program for and about entrepreneurs, airing each week from eight different platforms including Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live—allowing audiences to comment and ask questions in real-time.

Disney’s beloved Mickey Mouse Club is returning for its fourth iteration since 1955, but this time, exclusively on Facebook. The variety show Club Mickey Mouse! will honor the spirit of the original series while bringing the show into the present day. The last iteration of the show—simply called MMC—helped usher in such talent as Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Additional details, such as cast and whether or not the show will be broadcast live, have yet to revealed.

Live On Twitter

Twitter is known for up-to-the-minute updates ranging from what your friend made for dinner to play-by-play breakdowns of Fyre Festival. Livestreams around news, entertainment and sports are finding a home on the platform. Total hours of live content grew from 500 in Q4 to more than 800 in the first three months of 2017, according to Twitter.

During Newfronts, Twitter announced they will livestream with 16 new content partnerships, including deals with NFL, MLB, PGA, WNBA, The Player’s Tribune, Bloomberg Media, BuzzFeed News, The Verge, Live Nation and IMG Fashion, just to name a few. The social media site hasn’t forgotten video games, either. Twitter will livestream 15 esports tournaments and have 1,500 hours of online gaming.

Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence, announced a live video partnership with Twitter to broadcast Essence Now, the first live show on Twitter targeting black women.

Bloomberg previously announced a 24-hour news channel on Twitter following a successful broadcast of the 2016 US Presidential debates. The company surveyed a segment of its audience to see if they’d actually watch its shows on Twitter, and 73 percent of respondents said they would regularly do so.

“Ghostly” Presence

Although not a presenter, Snapchat’s presence was definitely felt at NewFronts with Hearst, Vice, Condé Nast, Time Inc. and many others showing plans to create for the platform. The sassy app and camera company is—and will continue to—offer original programming to its young audience.

Cosmopolitan is launching a new 10-episode Snapchat series with actress Yara Shahidi (Blackish) called Keep Calm & Yara On.

YouTube Sees Red (And Revenue)

YouTube didn’t skimp on its Newfronts presentation, complete with an after-dinner concert by Katy Perry. Susan Wojcicki, the company’s CEO, was quick to address the elephant in the room—security.

“The last several weeks have been challenging for some of you, and you’ve told us to do better when it comes to ad placement,” she told the audience. “I want you to know that we have taken your feedback to heart. We work hard every day to earn our advertisers’ and agencies’ trust, and we apologize for letting some of you down. I’m here to say that we can and we will do better.”

Concerns about ad placement haven’t stopped brands from producing content for the digital video giant, whether it be through YouTube Red or influencer partnerships. In its first Newfronts presentation, Entepreneur announced that its media arm, Entrepeneur Network will deploy a total of 37 series this year. Together with its partnerships with hundreds of top business-leaning YouTube channels, Entepreneur claims to drive 50 million minutes of viewership every month.

Awesomeness will renew its YouTube Red show Foursome and announced that its DreamWorksTV channel has 1.7 billion lifetime views and nearly three million subscribers, making it the No. 1 kids entertainment brand on YouTube.

Awesomeness recently conducted a study of Gen Z and found that 55 percent of the generation prefers to connect through social networks, and 71 percent stream their favorite shows.