NewFronts to Be Held Virtually in May 2021

YouTube and other digital video companies will make their NewFront presentations via livestream (Image credit: YouTube)

After last spring’s upfront events were canceled because of the coronavirus, many wondered what their future would be. Most of the events were redone as digital gatherings.

In the first announcement about the 2020-21 TV season, the NewFronts, featuring digital video, will be held by livestream the week of May 3, closer than ever to the broadcast network upfronts, traditionally scheduled for right after Mother’s Day.

“Buyers could not have been more clear coming out of the 2020 NewFronts: they want to move the video marketplaces closer together to make it easier to buy. As the definitive marketplace for digital video, we are committed to facilitating the buying process, and will expand the NewFronts so that all participants can come together if they choose,” said David Cohen, CEO of IAB, which organizes the NewFronts. “Our goal is to provide buyers with access to the best content, technology, and insights the industry has to offer.”

Related: IAB: National Privacy Legislation Is Job One

The IAB said it will announce participants in the NewFronts in the coming weeks. 

“A unified 2021 IAB NewFronts gives us exactly what we need,” said Matthew Sweeney, chief investment officer, GroupM U.S. “A single marketplace that spans web video, connected TV, ad supported video on demand, free ad supported streaming TV, as well as traditional cable, linear, and satellite gives us a clear view of the entire video opportunity.”

Last year’s NewFronts, rescheduled as a virtual event, drew more than 14,000 media buyers and advertisers.

“Streaming is the future, and the future is now,” said Cohen. “Consumers make no distinction between different forms of video, and there is an urgent need to not only recognize this reality, but also re-organize our industry to support it. This includes everything from cross-platform frequency management, to measurement and attribution, as well as holistic planning, buying, and selling.”

IAB is also shifting its audio marketplace, IAB Podcast Upfront, to take place the week of May 10.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.