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Deciphering the Data Announcements at the NewFronts

This year the NewFronts seemed longer than ever before. But, if you wade through the sea of buzzwords, we basically have MCN’s and other content producers rolling out more and more announcements and presentations showing off more and more talent (Hollywood and otherwise) and announcing more and more new video focused content.

While great content absolutely matters, attention is at a premium, so surfacing useful data is crucial if online publishers want to convince advertisers they can find the ideal audiences without waste.

That’s why data was front and center of a number of NewFront presentations.

But really…what does it all mean?

We took a look at some of the data-focused mentions at the NewFronts and tried to decipher what they’ll mean as we move forward.


What they announced:

A plan to work with Nielsen centered around the measurement company’s upcoming Digital Content Ratings.

What they said:

Vevo showed that Taylor Swift’s “Style” video reached 8.6% of young females, the second-highest that week and higher than network shows “Empire,” “Scandal” or “The Big Bang Theory.”

What’s it mean?

While Nielsen and Vevo is nothing new, the impact of video on music discovery is larger than ever, so they should get some credit for having a huge set of data to work with. Since there’s no music video channel on TV anymore, and every musician still makes music videos, people are turning to Vevo to watch them, which in turn allows them to discover new music in the process. Sidenote: Most of Vevo’s views come through YouTube which has become a major source of music discovery, particularly on mobile devices.


What they announced:

“Chorus” their proprietary content management system for branded content.

What they said:

Chorus “enables the creation, distribution and measurement” of branded content and provides “detailed data to ensure this content reaches the right audiences, in the right formats, at the right time.”

What’s it mean?

Vox has a lot of great properties with a lot of great content. Their seven sites: SB Nation, The Verge, Vox,Polygon, Eater, Curbed and Racked have millions of followers across multiple social platforms, and combined, their main content sites had 53 million unique visitors in March, according to ComScore.

That gives them a huge network of insights to help inform the content brands are paying to produce. This is a great example of a media company understanding how to apply audience data to better inform their storytelling.

Time will tell if Chorus will provide better results, but if anyone is in a position to create a successful proprietary data system, it’s Vox.


What they announced

Partnership with Nielsen and Millward Brown

What they said

Fullscreen is developing production solutions with Nielsen and Millward Brown that Kevin McGurn, head of sales for Fullscreen and Otter Media Companies, said would “qualify and validate custom content and influencer marketing’s reach compared to linear television buying.”

What’s it mean?

It’s still a little fuzzy as to how this will all come together, but the potential is exciting.

Fullscreen already has tools they’re using to help brands and creators. Nielsen is developing a Digital Content Rating system that will go into effect with a number of other major publishers to measure cross-screen viewership. Millward Brown is a forward thinking agency that has partnered with Snapchat to measure effectiveness. So we’ll assume that this partnership will enable Fullscreen to better prove to advertisers how effective it is to partner with their talent across multiple channels.  http://fortune.com/2014/10/23/adobe-nielsen-tv-ratings-system/

While YouTube is still the MCN’s home base, their content (and their stars) are rapidly expanding their reach to social platforms and YouTube rivals like Vessel and Vimeo.

That means a lot of data is being left on the table as these new platforms are not always measured and the more MCNs like Fullscreen can do to get all their views counted, the better, particularly when it comes to advertisers.


What they announced:

POUND – the Process for Optimizing and Understanding Network Diffusion.

What they said:

Pound is a new, proprietary technology that captures how BuzzFeed stories spread on the social web. It follows propagations from one sharer to another, through all the downstream visits, even across social networks and one-to-one sharing platforms like Gchat and email.”

What’s it mean?

The social graph isn’t platform-specific. Sharing happens in real time across multiple channels as seen below.

Sponsored content gets shared in the same ways:

With Pound, Buzzfeed has a head start on the rest of the industry in applying this type of data to their content model. It’s a smart move from a smart company and should help to ensure future success.


The appetite for video is only increasing. According to a new IAB study one in four U.S. adults watched original digital video programming at least once a month.

What the industry needs now is more transparency around measurement. We can’t even decide on what a view really is, because Facebook runs videos on autoplay and counts them as “viewed” after 3 seconds whereas YouTube waits a full 30 seconds to call something a “view.” What’s Twitter Video going to start at? What about Instagram? And that’s just a single metric.

Buzzfeed has been the most open and honest about their measurement, dedicating a lengthy post talking to their methodology.

As my colleague David Beck noted last week: Bottom line, with more content choices, formats, and distribution platforms, it will become increasingly difficult to agree on “apples to apples” success metrics.”

Walking away from the NewFronts it seems there are still more questions than answers. For the online video industry to be taken seriously, that’s got to change.