Unlocking the Power of Programmatic Advertising: Insights into Upfronts, NewFronts, and PlayFronts


05 June 2023

Understanding Upfront events in the programmatic advertising industry

Upfront is an event hosted by a major broadcast TV network to sell commercial airtime beforehand. It started in the television industry, as broadcasters sold ad spots ahead of the forthcoming television season. Advertisers or agencies purchase ad inventory in advance, generally for many months or a year. Rather than purchasing ad impressions in real-time through real-time bidding (RTB), upfronts allow advertisers to commit to a specified amount of impressions or a fixed budget from the start.

In the programmatic industry, Upfront deals offer access to guaranteed ad inventory, allowing advertisers to reach their target audience through high-traffic or prominent websites. These deals involve pricing discussions, with advertisers agreeing to a fixed price based on demand and inventory value. Marketers commit to a specified time frame, spending a set amount or achieving a certain number of impressions. The programmatic industry has evolved to provide flexibility, enabling advertisers to optimize campaigns, adjust budgets, and modify targeting within the agreed-upon inventory. Upfront payments benefit both marketers and publishers, granting access to premium inventory and ensuring favorable pricing while publishers secure income and streamline their ad programs.

Significance of NewFronts in the programmatic industry

NewFronts are programmatic industry events where digital media companies and content creators present their upcoming advertising offerings and content strategies to advertisers, agencies, and media buyers. These events focus on digital video content and advertising opportunities across various platforms, such as streaming services, social media, and online publishers.

The NewFronts aims to generate interest, secure advertising commitments, and foster partnerships between content creators and advertisers. During NewFront presentations, companies highlight their original content, programming lineups, audience metrics, and advertising capabilities to showcase the value and effectiveness of their opportunities. NewFronts is a crucial platform for advertisers to explore digital advertising options, stay informed about content trends, and allocate their ad budgets wisely.

Exploring the power of PlayFronts

“PlayFront” refers to an event or presentation related to the in-gaming and cybersport industry. Like Upfronts and NewFronts, a PlayFront event would showcase upcoming video games, gaming platforms, or gaming content to potential advertisers or partners. It could be an opportunity for gaming companies to secure advertising deals, attract sponsors, and promote gaming-related offerings. The second annual conference of the IAB PlayFronts took place on March 2023, 8th-9th, in New York City.

The importance of Upfronts, NewFronts, and PlayFronts lies in their ability to serve as platforms for industry stakeholders to come together, showcase their offerings, and form partnerships. These three events play significant roles in their respective industries by fostering connections between content creators, advertisers, and partners. They drive innovation, shape advertising strategies, and facilitate informed decision-making, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the media, digital television, and gaming industries.

Top video providers actively participate in buying and selling advertising inventory during the Upfront, NewFront, and Playfront events. The major players gather in New York May 15-17 for the springtime ritual of presenting programming plans for the upcoming TV season.

  • During the NewFronts presentations, leading Smart TV manufacturers such as YouTube, Samsung, Paramount, Vizio, LG, WarnerBros,  Disney, and Roku highlighted the significance of automatic content recognition (ACR) data. This data has garnered considerable attention in the industry as it enhances TV measurement consistency. Almost every company with a streaming distribution business actively seeks improved methods to measure their audience, striving to outperform their competitors.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) unveiled WBD Stream during its Upfront presentation on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. It is a new digital video offering for advertisers, separate from Max and Discovery+. WBD Stream extends reach across screens, enabling direct and programmatic campaigns on mobile, desktop, and CTV platforms, reaching 110 million adults monthly. It includes WBD-owned sites/apps (e.g., Food Network, Animal Planet, HGTV) and dynamic ad insertion from third-party partnerships.
  • During the recent NewFront event, Amazon announced measurement capabilities for advertisers. They revealed that cross-screen impressions and reach can now be tracked using iSpot and VideoAmp, extending to out-of-home campaigns and local television stations. Amazon unveiled a list of streaming content and related advertising opportunities during IAB’s 2023 NewFronts – 2023 NewFronts event held on May 1 in New York City.
  • The 2023 PlayFronts conference, hosted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, generated significant excitement surrounding the advertising possibilities within video games. The IAB’s enthusiasm for this emerging space was evident through the event’s impressive lineup of sponsors, including Samsung Ads, Activision Blizzard Media, and Tik Tok.
  • The recent Netflix Upfront event declared that the company has dedicated significant effort to excel in fundamental aspects crucial to advertisers. They focus on key areas such as geo, age, and gender targeting, ensuring precise audience segmentation. Additionally, the company prioritizes third-party verification to instill trust and confidence in advertisers. By deploying appropriate brand suitability mechanisms, Netflix empowers advertisers to make informed decisions that align with their brand values. While striving to achieve parity in these areas, Netflix continues to drive innovation within the advertising landscape.

Advantages of Upfront, NewFront, and Playfront deals: a win-win for participants

Participants in Upfronts, NewFronts, and PlayFronts enjoy various advantages. Content creators can promote their offerings, secure advertising deals, and collaborate with others. Advertisers, agencies, and marketers gain insights, make informed decisions, and find partnership opportunities.

These events foster industry growth, innovation, and success through trends, networking, and resource allocation. Meanwhile, CTV advertising is gaining momentum globally, with mobile and digital video revenues projected to reach $9.5 billion in 2023.

DecenterAds experts will reveal strategies to scale these channels for current and future business achievements. Unleash the power of collaboration and embrace CTV advertising for exponential growth in the digital landscape.



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