2023 NewFront Recap

Jenny Schauer
Published May 4, 2023

This week, digital media mavens once again descended on New York for the annual IAB Digital Content NewFronts. As the name suggests, digital content was still a key topic for the week. However, as we’ve seen in recent years, the focus of the presentations has largely shifted away from talking about “the what” and leaned more into “the how” and “the who” of the digital ecosystem.

Original content development was still core to the presentations from partners like Peacock, Conde, and Amazon – but with the rest of the headlining roster stacked with presenters like Vizio, Samsung, Meta, and TikTok, it’s clear that the days of mimicking Upfront Week with a highly visual showcase of original programming have passed. A new era of Newfronts is upon us – one that’s focused more on the enablement of great content and less on the creation of it.

One of the most prevalent topics of the week was data and measurement, brought to life through a plethora of new partnerships and products, such as Vizio and Inscape, Innovid XP, LG and Snowflake, and many more. Brands are being held increasingly accountable for their media and marketing decisions, and every partner was out to showcase that they have the right solution to prove that out. While it’s great to see partners and platforms wanting to put their money where their mouth is, a dozen bespoke measurement solutions don’t exactly solve the industry’s challenge. Consistency in a measurement approach across the ecosystem is also a desire that cannot be underscored enough, and wasn’t necessarily addressed this week.

Technology also played a large role in the week’s content. Interactive and shoppable opportunities were woven through nearly every presentation, including Kerv’s partnerships with Samsung and NBC, Roku’s new Commerce+ offering, Meta’s rollout of multi-product shoppable Reels, and Amazon’s launch of clickable units in NFL Thurs Night Football. Furthermore, AI was a newcomer on the scene this year, with presenters like Samsung, Snap, Roku, and Meta showcasing their innovations in the space and unique ways AI can bring more value to viewers and advertisers.

Lastly, as anticipated, diversity and inclusion efforts underpinned many presentations to continue illustrating support for diverse owners, creators, and audiences within the industry. Key presentations from multicultural properties, including Blavity, NGL|Mitu, Estrella, and more, underscored the importance of incorporating a wider breadth of properties into marketing plans. It was also refreshing to see Revry among the week’s presenters, the first LGBTQ+-focused platform to participate in NewFronts.

All in all, the 2023 IAB NewFront Week was a great opportunity for brands and agencies alike to hear what’s top of mind for the platforms and partners leading the charge – and to be able to clearly see the direction our industry is going. While it wasn’t necessarily what NewFronts used to be, it was still a week focused on some of the most important opportunities and challenges facing marketers – and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

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