NewFronts 2016 may not be over yet, but it’s obvious what the most successful marketing trends are going to be. Here are the top five marketing takeaways we’ve seen from this year’s digital advertising pitch event.

Digital Content Is King, Even In The Living Room

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Video Ad Spend study, 72 percent of respondents said they will move funds out of TV and make the move to digital video advertising. YouTube landed a $250 million investment deal during NewFronts this week, utilizing Google’s Premium Preferred advertising program and unskippable video ads.

Despite the transition from scheduled to streamed programming, watching your favorite shows from the comfort of your couch is still as popular as ever, thanks to Apple TV, Chromecast and video game console apps, among others. A large reason for this popularity stems from the ability to watch an entire series in one sitting, something that traditional TV makes you wait for. A recent study by Deloitte found that roughly half of Americans subscribe to some type of streaming service, and 70 percent of U.S. consumers watch an average of five episodes per sitting.

Video-streaming service Hulu, for example, will reach 12 million subscribers this month. 70 percent of Hulu’s viewing comes from connected TVs when just eight years ago, its viewership came entirely from desktop computers.

“Hulu is TV, and the fact that 70 percent of our viewing happens in a living room environment just reinforces that idea to the market,” said Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertising sales with Hulu.


The Snapchat Strategy

Launched in 2011 as a messaging app, Snapchat now says that over 8 billion videos are viewed each day. It’s not surprising then, that a number of brands like Popsugar and Hearst have announced Snapchat initiatives to increase audience outreach. Buzzfeed in particular took notice of the 10-second storytelling platform, noting that 21 percent of all its views come from its Snapchat Discover channel. Meanwhile, digital publisher Vox Media announced a new Snapchat studio to create content for all eight of its brands which includes The Verge and Polygon.

Engagement Through Livestream

Livestreaming isn’t just for video games, although according to SuperData, the eSports market is now valued at $892.8 million. More brands are taking the live approach when it comes to audience engagement through concerts, announcements and live shows. BMW launched its M2 model live on Periscope last October, while Tastemade, a food and travel network, announced over 100 Facebook Live streams in the near future. Tequila manufacturer Jose Cuervo celebrated Cinco de Mayo yesterday by livestreaming a concert on their website.

During this year’s AOL NewFronts presentation, CEO Tim Armstrong revealed that his platform livestreams about one million hours of programming per day across all of its global partnerships. Twitch, although best known for its video game livestreams, also hosts a variety of content from interviews to behind the scenes documentaries. According to Quantcast, Twitch had over 216 million views in the last month alone.

Grooming Young Content Creators At NewFronts

To reach that coveted millennial audience, who better to create your content than an actual member of your target demographic? A popular theme during NewFronts has been the fostering of new talent through mentor programs, competition and sponsorship. Disney’s Maker studio announced that four original concepts from the Spark by Maker inaugural class have been selected to be green-lit for a series and hosted a private breakfast during NewFronts for an audience of young content creators. Condé Nast Entertainment’s Creators in Residence program specifically mentors millennials in their storytelling efforts.

Women, in particular, are being given a chance to shine in content creation, with Buzzfeed, Popsugar and Refinery29 announcing partnerships and programming to support females in the industry.


Condé Nast presents at NewFronts 2016. (Source: IAB)
Condé Nast Entertainment president, Dawn Ostroff discusses programming for millennials at NewFronts 2016. (Source: IAB)

Brands Are Taking VR And 360 Video Seriously

Although this isn’t the first time virtual reality was “the next big thing,” brands seem to be taking the advanced technology seriously at NewFronts for their marketing efforts. Bloomberg Media is integrating connected video (ads appearing at contextually appropriate times) and the New York Times is making the move to VR journalism. Refinery29 even announced their own unit called VR29 that will focus on virtual reality and 360-degree video content.

As we learned at the [a]list summit last month, it’s not enough to jump on the VR and 360 bandwagon—you have to tell compelling stories, and that takes a significant amount of thoughtful planning.

“Virtual reality is kind of a fun thing,” Shiraz Akmal, CEO and co-founder of SPACES said during the [a]list summit. “The simple definition we like to say is, ‘it can take you anywhere’ and part of that is a challenge of figuring out where you start. With the myriad of choices and decisions, we think it’s important, at least for 2016 and on, to think about a publishing strategy, if you will. Part of that strategy is deciding what you’re going to make.”