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Swing to Left Coast Feels Right for IAB NewFronts

Digital content seeks new ad buyers in Los Angeles at the inaugural Newfronts West

For decades, the heart of the national ad biz has been nestled in the Big Apple. Now the digital media industry’s marquee pitchfest is heading to L.A. to tap into a new set of potential buyers.

The inaugural Digital Content NewFronts West will run Oct. 9-10 at NeueHouse Hollywood, featuring a lineup of 20 presentations ranging from the New York Times to Snapchat.

“In the old world, if you were a major marketer you had to be in New York. But that’s changing,” says Sebastian Tomich, global head of advertising and marketing solutions for the New York Times Co. In addition to big-name marketers located in Southern California, he cites the enhanced influence of Silicon Valley on the media business.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, the trade org that runs the NewFronts, decided to launch the West Coast iteration to not only reach a different cohort of ad buyers and brands but also to give member companies a second platform, later in the year, to plug their latest advertising programs. 

Plus, “L.A. is where the creative community and storytellers are,” says Anna Bager, IAB’s EVP of industry initiatives.

The original New York version of the NewFronts has taken place every spring since 2012 in individual events scattered across Manhattan. The L.A. event will have a different structure, featuring companies pitching back-to-back on the same stage. 

That way, Bager says, “We can do a big event without everyone spending a lot of money on their own.”

The main presenting companies at the event are: Digitas, Ellen Digital Network, Gallery Media Group, Jukin Media, LiveXLive Media, the Los Angeles Times, Meredith, the New York Times, Snap (Snapchat’s parent company), SoulPancake, Unity Technologies, Viacom Digital Studios, Vice Media, Vudu and YouTube’s FameBit influencer-marketing division.

The L.A. setting provides “a much better opportunity to speak with the brands on the West Coast,” says Jonathan Skogmo, founder and CEO of Jukin Media. The viral-video aggregator is participating in its first NewFronts event.

IAB is expecting as many as 600 attendees over the course of the L.A. event, and Bager says the core audience will still be agencies and marketers. “We will probably be seeing more brands in the room than ever before,” she says. 

Pictured: NewFronts presentations have included performances, like this one by the cast of Viceland’s docu-series “My House” in May 2018 at the NewFronts in New York.

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