The energy around this year’s event is palpable, executives say. Brands no long need to be convinced that digital advertising is a big business. Digital video advertising was up 17 percent in 2014 to $3.3 billion, according to the IAB. That number will only grow. EMarketer estimates that it will jump to $7.8 billion in 2015. While that’s still a fraction of the TV advertising business, brands are taking notice, says Maker Studios COO Courtney Holt.
“There’s a lot more demand for what we’re offering, whereas in the past we were sort of forcing ourselves into the conversation,” he says. “We’ve got the attention of the most important marketing executives on the planet making this week a priority. That’s a change from what I saw even two years ago.”
Despite the changing landscape, NewFronts founding partner YouTube is still expected to take center stage. The Google-owned streaming giant will host a glitzy, star-studded affair at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, April 29. There, YouTube will bring back Google Preferred, the premium-advertising tier it unveiled at the NewFronts last year. According to Google, the offering, which gives advertisers access to a pool of top creators, attracted more than 30 brands that had no previously advertised with YouTube.