The Digital Content NewFronts, as they're properly called, originated as a way to spur advertiser interest in the emerging digital-video market, and that they have done. Last year one agency received phone calls at 2 a.m. from clients trying to get invites to presentations the next day. And roughly 100 brands from major marketers -- large multibrand companies like Nestlé -- signed NewFronts deals with YouTube, according to the Google-owned video giant, including 30 that had never advertised on YouTube before.
But it remains unclear whether the NewFronts are yet big business. U.S. advertisers will spend $7.77 billion on digital video this year, according to eMarketerestimates, up 30% from 2014. While the NewFronts have spurred some of that spending, most of the deals are struck at other times of the year. That's in contrast with TV, which secures commitments for the majority of its prime-time schedule every summer before its new season begins.