While some companies didn’t shy away from the NewFronts days of yore—in which A-lister after A-lister was brought out on stage (looking at you, Hulu)—other companies shifted focus this year. Many publishers seemingly tried to create a more intimate experience with potential clients in the room by booking small venues or splitting presentations to create a smaller crowd.
It’s not unusual for these publishers to rent out huge theaters or big stages to showcase the original programming they have on deck. Last year, for example, Meredith presented for the first time post-Time Inc. acquisition from the Hudson Theatre. This year, the publisher used its own space at 225 Liberty St. to showcase its new offerings.
Then, Meredith took it one step further: The publisher divided its allotted two hours from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (which organizes the event but does not put on each individual presentation) into two 45-minute presentations.
The theater in which it was held could only hold so many people, but those who attended seemed grateful for the smaller crowd. They mumbled their appreciation at being able to be closer to the stage as they sat down post-munching on Meredith breakfast treats.
The crowd was also more easily integrated into the presentation itself, which included talent (including Gail Simmons) embedded in the audience, talking about their new content on Meredith properties. Having them so close made it easier for those in the crowd to get their content, too. Naturally, phones whipped out at the sight of talent standing up to speak.
Similarly, Condé Nast—which held its NewFront at what was a not-yet restaurant in Hudson Yards—gathered everyone in what felt like a more intimate location to discuss new programming. Last year, the publisher rented out a penthouse for everyone to unwind. That casual atmosphere translated after presentation as everyone mingled over snacks and drinks afterward.
The New York Times again held its presentation at the Times Center with an available overflow room. Even execs there tried to make it a close experience with those who attended. At the end of the presentation, crossword editors worked with the crowd to live solve the next day’s crossword puzzle. While some seemed irritated at how long it took and left midway through, the puzzle served as a unique way to get those in the crowd interacting with the publisher’s original content—at least, more unique than a standard two-hour spiel on new original videos.