05/04/23: Cynopsis Reports: Live from NewFronts: Wednesday Edition


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday May 3, 2023

Cynopsis Reports: Live from NewFronts: Wednesday Edition

It’s day three of IAB NewFront events, and we’re here to report even more partnership announcements, surprise celebrity appearances, can’t-miss moments and innovative solutions from some of the industry’s biggest names. So, what are the week’s themes thus far? In short, we’re in a world of alternative currencies, enhanced ad formats and negotiation flexibility. Read on for an inside look at NewFronts 2023.


“Unmissable.” This was the buzzword of the day at Roku’s NewFront presentation on Tuesday afternoon. “Serious” Al Yankovic opened up the event, eliciting whoops and laughs from the audience, to discuss his recent film on the streamer, “Weird.” The Chelsea Factory was transformed into Roku City and decked out in purple, as Charlie Collier, president of Roku Media, took the stage and asked the packed house to close their eyes and imagine that they were creating the best TV experience: “Would you just tweak regular TV or would you transform it?”

Collier gave props to Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood, who invented the DVR when he didn’t want to miss and episode of “Star Trek.” Today – well, real estate in Roku City, a screen saver recognizable for its Easter eggs from popular films and series, is now up for auction. Brands are able to purchase ad inventory and “become unmissable to the nearly 40 million homes that enjoy Roku City each month” – the first to open its doors will be McDonald’s later this year. “Roku is not fighting for turf in the streaming wars,” said Collier. “Roku is the turf.”

Innovation is also a theme for Amazon Freevee this week. “We’re committed to continuously innovating on behalf of our customers, to help them more easily and in less time find the content they crave,” said company head Ryan Pirozzi. “You’ll see more great Freevee Originals from Amazon Studios, more great licensed content, and more FAST channels – all in an increasingly-seamless and personalized experience.”

Over at Peacock, “complete” is an emotional experience, according to President of Peacock Kelly Campbell. The company operates with the tenets “fresh but familiar” and “modern, distinct and uniquely Peacock.” The platform’s growth is built on being “the most complete streaming service in the market,” according to Peter Blacker, EVP, streaming & data products and head of DEI, global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, and the company is committed long-term to the consumer’s continued engagement.

NGLmitú has launched its new streaming platform, mitúTV. With over 120 hours of original Latino-created programming, the network will be available through the app. “We are our own best customer now,” Joe Bernard, the company’s chief revenue officer, said. “Instead of asking advertisers to use our platforms, we should use it ourselves. So we will.” In an effort to elevate a combined company dedicated to the Latino audience, the app will be available on various platforms including Amazon Fire, Roku, Android TV, Apple TV, and iOS and Android mobile.

In an age of streaming mergers, there’s a growing emphasis on subscriber churn rates and widening fragmentation. To Stephani Estes of the Goodway Group, Warner Bros. Discovery’s unveiling of Max is a prime example of how the industry is working to solve these problems. Bundling, with more options for content in one place, can pose benefits for both programmers and advertisers, she said. “Whether or not this approach proves to be successful remains to be seen,” she said, “but this speaks to how the industry is pivoting to address our biggest challenges right now.”

For Estrella Media, the state of media today is all about growth. “We want to make it as easy as possible for users,” said Estrella Media Chief Revenue and Local Media Officer Steve Mandala. Without subscriptions, paywalls or fees, Estrella is committed to delivering content that is always free – “a win” for both consumers and advertisers. “Estrella ‘got in position’ for the increasing turn to digital and we have been rewarded by both viewers and marketers,” said Mandala. “We are experiencing growth in digital that nobody has seen in the media world in years.”



New ad formats are on the rise, prompting marketers to compare those that facilitate onscreen engagement with a handheld remote control, and those that utilize QR codes. “While the latter does serve a specific niche in driving second-screen actions, they pale in comparison to the mass engagement that one can achieve via on-screen interactivity and dynamic elements, where all the action happens on the big screen,” suggested Brightline Co-founder and Chief Experience Officer Rob Aksman. “Viewers want and will engage with TV ads on the TV at higher rates, interacting with everything from car colorizers to trivia questions. Only experiences that occur on the TV allow for truly immersive mass engagement, as well as self-selected ad experiences tailored to the viewer’s preferences.”

For Joe Bernard, chief revenue officer at NGLmitú, the most exciting new ad format is the expansion of video options at scale, especially in the CTV space. “We’re most excited about introducing mitúTV and the original content we’re creating for Latinos, by Latinos (vodcasts, comedy shorts, and music series) that advertisers can align to through turnkey sponsorship, integration, or custom solutions.”

Crackle Connex, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s ad sales division, announced new capabilities for connections between brands and consumers. Crackle Connex is now reaching over 80 million monthly active users, representing a 100% growth over the last 12 months. The company presented a number of renewed and brand-new projects that allow brands to own a series or segment, or create their own custom content with messaging woven into the fabric of the storyline. Upcoming branded content includes “At Home” with Genevieve Gorder, “Just For Kicks,” a new season of “Going From Broke,” a second season of “Inside the Black Box,” and more.


A new IAB report found that key issues persist amid progress in the TV and video advertising marketplace. In conjunction with Standard Media Index and Advertiser Perceptions, the IAB’s “2022 Video Ad Spend & 2023 Outlook: Defining the Generation” found that digital video advertising spend increased 21% last year to 47.1 billion and is expected to rise an additional 17% this year. Other key findings include:
* CTV continues to distinguish itself within the TV/video landscape by being the go-to channel for audience targeting, measurement, and scale.
* Most TV/video buyers consider creator content to be premium and many tap the same budget resources and measurement approaches used for “Hollywood”-produced content.
* A multi-currency market for video impression measurement is imminent, however there is little consensus among TV/video buyers on how to define currency.
* Half (51%) of TV/video buyers are applying biometric-based metrics (e.g., eye-tracking, thermal scanning, heart rate, etc.) to measure viewer attention.

Innovid announced a new partnership with Disney to “power greater insights in addressable.” Through an integration between Innovid’s converged TV measurement platform, InnovidXP, and Disney Advertising’s first-party Audience Graph, the measurement of outcomes will be enabled across Disney’s addressable footprint. The deal is intended to allow both local and national advertisers to access the tools and insights they will need to inform and improve campaign strategies.



Al Yankovic wasn’t the only celeb lighting up the Roku stage. The Saldaña sisters, Sofía Vergara and her son Manolo Gonzalez Vergara, Jessica Alba and Lizzy Mathis, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leif, and musician Charlie Puth were on hand to tout their projects – “Meet Me in Rome,” “Celebrity Family Cook-Off,” “Honest Revocations,” “The Great American Baking Show” and “Charlie Makes a Record,” respectively.

More than 85% of Hispanics say they view TV content through streaming every week. At Estrella Media’s presentation today, Jacqueline Hernández, CEO and co-founder of New Majority Ready, called the Hispanic demographic the “consumer that is really driving exponential growth.”


“Live sports is the content poster child for CTV success.” This is how Tal Chalozin, Innovid CTO and co-founder, described the shift of TV viewership and digital audiences toward streaming. At the same time, curating content that keeps consumers engaged remains competitive and expensive. Asked Chalozin, “What happens when the sports season is over? We can expect an emphasis on lowering churn with content that will keep viewers on the same platform. Savvy content providers will look to the success of live sports thus far as they seek to develop alternative content that keeps viewers watching.”

Half of all households that streamed the Super Bowl last year did so on Roku devices, noted the company. And using Roku’s “primetime reach guarantee,” advertisers for sports, and home and garden, experiences can “buy with the assurance that their campaign will reach more TV households in primetime with Roku than the average program on a top-five cable network on traditional TV,” said the company.



Charlie Puth gave Roku NewFront attendees a sneak peek at his upcoming series, “Charlie Makes a Record,” by attempting to compose the show’s opening theme song onstage.

When asked for a baking tip, “The Great British Bake Off” and “The Great American Baking Show” judge Paul Hollywood quipped, “Buy my book!”.

An attendee at Snap’s Tuesday presentation noted, “I didn’t hear ‘TV’ or ‘CTV’ mentioned once.”

Also at Snap, audience members tested out new AI filters on the big screen.

Purple lights, drinks, flowers and even soap decorated Roku City at Chelsea Factory.

Julian Mintz, Roku’s head of ad sales, said, “Streaming directly moves product off the shelf, but only when the process is simple and intuitive.”

“You don’t want to be perfect, you want to be real,” said Danan Ren, SVP of client insights at Comscore. Ren also said, “It really is about more content being out there, more people consuming more content; people are hungry for more.”

At the IAB’s main stage at Convene in Tribeca, massages were offered during the lunch break. Said host Maria Menounos, “I’ll be in line for that.”

“It’s not a question of linear or streaming, but linear and streaming,” said Amy Leifer, chief advertising sales officer at DIRECTV Advertising.

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director

Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Robbie Caploe
VP/Group Publisher

Executive Director of Sales
Albert Nassour
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
John Cox


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