Cynopsis Backstage at the Upfronts – 04/30/15: Google, Refinery29, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel & World Fishing Network



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BEHIND THE SCENES at the Upfronts
The People! The Parties! The Buzz!a


Google threw itself a rockin’ tenth birthday party at its NewFront last night at Madison Square Garden. After a poem-rap about YouTube’s ten-year history set to a dancing choir, CEO Susan Wojcicki came onstage to introduce a group of lucky YouTube fans seated in the front row. Host Grace Helbig kept the night fun and light as she welcomed a slew of YT celebs including Alyson Stoner, iJustine and John Green to speak – to increasingly escalating screams from the front-row crowd.
Suzie Reider
, Managing Director of Brand, Google detailed for Cynopsis her company’s plans:

The Brandcast
“YouTube is, has been, and always will be about video, video, video  that’s our core. One of the things unique to us is our fan engagement. Creators on YouTube form deep connections with their viewers, which means that brands can reach their most valuable, hard-to-reach audiences with us. But it’s more than that. The billions of people who watch video on YouTube engage and connect back with video responses and spin up the viral nature of the commercials/content; we think of the commercials as content.”

That YouTube Celeb Magic
“Prior to the show, we hosted a meet-up between thousands of fans and YouTube stars including Tyler Oakley, Lilly Singh, Dude Perfect, Slow Mo Guys, and Bethany Mota.Marketers could see firsthand their loyalty, energy and passion.”

Google Preferred, Part 2
“First, Google Preferred is expanding to ten more markets globally this year. Second, we’re focused on the growing value of YouTube as a platform to connect with consumers. Think of Google Preferred as primetime, and our broader content is like the other day-parts.”

What’s next?
“In one word: mobile. When we look at the next five years, we increasingly see the impact of mobile devices on digital video, which is already where 50 percent of YT views are taking place. When watching a YT video on an app there’s nothing on the screen except the video itself. There’s no display advertising, so the ad must move into the video.This is why Trueview [Google’s in-stream ad solution] is such a wise format.We were ahead of the consumer shift to mobile, but we think every day about how to create formats that will be brilliant for both viewers and advertisers.”

Party On!
One bash is never enough. Not only did the tech giant host an after-party, but they also invited attendees to a pre-party. Both took place at the Skylight Moynihan Station in the ginormous James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan; props to Google for getting the massive audience to and from MSG in an orderly manner…twice!

What’s to eat and where can I sit?
Similar to last year, Google set up food stations inspired by its food channel Tastemade. Attendees filled up on kale and quinoa salads, veggie cups, gluten-free mac n’ cheese squares, shrimp crostini and more. Seating was provided by comfy couches, all the better to enjoy the cityscape backdrop. The after-party featured more food, more drinks and rapper/DJ Snoop Dog, who spun the night away.

Oh, Baby!
CEO Susan Wojcicki informed the audience that she just given birth to her fifth child. She intertwined her personal story by talking about how her daughter will use YouTube in the future. Girl power!

Celeb Watch
Attendees noticed a particular someone waiting for a beer at the concessions before the show began: YouTube celeb Hannah Hart. Several advertisers approached to worship up-close, and Hart couldn’t have been more gracious. The cool factor was suddenly kicked up a notch.


The battle is on! Coaches Daddy Yankee, Natalia Jiménez and Pedro Fernández completed their teams and 54 vocalists moved on to the Battle Rounds of TELEMUNDO’S LA VOZ KIDS, Sundays at 8pm.

Fans can follow the excitement through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #LVK, #TeamYankee, #TeamNatalia and #TeamPedro.

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Refinery29 may have just presented its inaugural NewFront event yesterday, but the ten-year-old fashion and beauty publication was well prepped to show off its chops and highly engaged millennial audience.

Girl anthems from power artists M.I.A., Tove Lo and Sia blasted in the background of the Skylight Modern in Chelsea, where a room full of fashion-forward women excitedly jumped from conversation to conversation. The décor was futuristic, with lit-up neon symmetrical shapes that connected tablets, smartphones and SmartTV’s that hung on the wall. The theme, Forever Forward, was reflected in a specialty drink at the bar by the same name, which was a zingy mix of jalapeno tequila and grapefruit soda.

Currently 130 million women  and one of every two millennial women, according to the company - engage with Refinery29 content each month across the combined reach of the site’s platforms, and site traffic has doubled in audience year over year consecutively for the past five years. “We’ve cracked the code of creating a universe for modern, informed women,” R29 co-founder Justin Stefano said. “It’s all about fun and positive emotions.

Added Melissa Goidel, Chief Revenue Officer, “They see brands on our site that are on trend, and we are able to turn that trust into action; Sixty-seven percent purchase from those brands.”

Though plenty of stats were shared about the power of millennial women, what made the event stand out from others this week was the sense of pride and intimacy in the room. The crowd cheered for each of the women execs who joined the stage; there was a real sense of excitement for R29’s accomplishments.

“This place creates amazing, crazy s–t,” Amy Emmerich, R29’s EVP of Programming, said in the first line of her speech. “If you had told me that I would move, start a job and have a baby all while creating a media revolution in a year, I would have laughed. Well, I have a daughter now, and I want her to learn to kick some a– and wear some lipstick while she does it.” The crowd roared its approval.

The publisher provided sneak-peaks of the R29 Originals slate, which will include 29 video programs in scripted comedies, dramas, documentaries, and tutorials. Creative partners include Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky, co-founders Jill Soloway and Rebecca Odes, Jessie Kahnweiler, Planned Parenthood with Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Mamie Gummer, Mae Whitman, Jenni Konner, Jack Antonoff and Richard Shepard.

The Afterparty
Trays of one-bite grilled cheeses, pork pot-stickers and coconut shrimp floated around the room. R29 also broke out the virtual reality devices to give a glimpse of its Samsung VR partnership on the series Fashionably Bound. On the way out, guests were handed a black tote bag with a note pad and a mini Urban Decay “Naked” palette.

–Reported by Jessica Reese


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Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network

A newly-formed conglomerate of lifestyle channels targeting adventure participants as well as armchair observers in the M25-54 demo hosted events in Chicago and NYC, as well as roadshow presentations nationwide. Jason Brist, Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales, talked up the lure of Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network.

What’s the diff?
“While all three networks will serve to complement each other, each will have its own unique personality,” Brist tells Cynopsis. “Outdoor Channel is being built to appeal to both the core audience who actively participate in outdoor activities, as well as what we call ‘armchair adventurers’- viewers who may not actively participate in the outdoor lifestyle but certainly love to watch. Sportsman Channel will be focused on ‘super serving’ our core viewers with new and proven programming. And World Fishing Network will focus on all fishing, all the time.”

How does the new company affect ad deals?
“With a portfolio that now includes three national cable networks, 17 cutting edge websites and 15 industry leading publications, we’ll have the ability to share content and cross-promote across all of our properties. By listening and learning from advertisers about their immediate and long-term goals, we can create customized plans that will provide them with the ROI they deserve.”

What new categories do you hope to break?
“Our audience believes in working hard and playing hard. Big box stores and domestic beer would help them to do both.”

Standing Out From the Competition
“As the world’s largest aggregator and provider of outdoor lifestyle content, we have the ability to speak to our unique audience however and wherever they consume their media,” says Brist.
Also, both Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel have been experiencing ratings growth while the majority of our competitors are seeing declines.”

Client Feedback
“Our unique marketing and sponsorship ideas get everyone in the room excited,” says Brist. “Whether it’s a three-network roadblock, product integration examples into some of our top-rated shows, or our willingness and ability to produce customized content that speaks to our hard-to-reach audience. Clients are happy to hear these executions are all turn-key and will not break the bank.”

Just Asking…
What’s the job you’d most like to have but never will?
“Commissioner of Major League Baseball – I’m already in every ballpark on my travels as it is!”

Favorite form of social media?
“Facebook  I wish I had time for more. My daughters think I’m old and out of touch for only using Facebook.”

Guilty pleasure TV show
Colbert Report, sadly. The double whammy is that he’s replacing Dave, my all-time favorite.”

Quote of the Day
“Clients want us to prove their money is being well spent. Analytics are the buzz this Upfront season. With so many options to choose from, networks our size need to prove we can move the needle.”- Jason Brist

–reported by Lynn Leahey

Coming up in Backstage at the Upfronts, in your mailbox at 6pm!

Fall Out Boy is just one of the big names to be a part of A+E Networks Upfront tonight at the Park Avenue Armory. Plus, we’ll have all the NewFronts scoop from DigitasLBi and Vevo for you tomorrow!

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey, Editor
Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480

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