Over the next two weeks, some of the biggest Internet companies and publishers will showcase their original programming in an annual attempt to attract advertising dollars. The events, taking place in New York under the banner of the Digital Content NewFronts, are equal parts sales pitch and festival. This year, they are also something else: crowded.
Thirty-three companies are holding events — by far the most since the gathering began in 2012 — reflecting a rush to lure ad dollars away from television and secure a portion of the increasing amount of money being spent on digital video. Television still dominates the United States market, with $68.5 billion of ad spending last year, but the amount spent on digital video ads increased to $5.8 billion in the United States in 2014 and is expected to grow to $12.8 billion by 2018, according to the research firm eMarketer.
Part of the appeal for companies of a focused annual event like the NewFronts, they say, is that it can stir demand for their programming and persuade advertisers to commit spending upfront. But with so many companies participating — and the wealth of available digital content in general — a sense of urgency on the part of advertisers may now be absent.
“The NewFronts are a marketplace,” said Carl Fremont, the global chief digital officer at MEC, part of the advertising giant WPP. “It is becoming crowded, and to find your time to stand out and get an audience is much more challenging.”
Google’s 2015 Brandcast event for YouTube on Wednesday night will focus more on its Google Preferred offering, which it announced last year, than on original programming, Ms. Walpert Levy said. Google Preferred allows advertisers to identify and buy space on the most popular 5 percent of YouTube videos. The company will also promote measurement tools that it says will help advertisers gauge audience response.