The 2015 Digital Newfronts have wrapped up and as was expected the focus of many was on original content with Hulu, Crackle, Defy, AOL, Yahoo! and more showcasing their new programs as well as how much their original programs have grown over the past year.
One big change from 2014 though was the focus on original movies. In the past couple years most of the original content for digital properties has focused on TV shows ranging from 30-60 minutes. Now Hulu, YouTube and other companies are making their own movies and with big names. James Franco is staring in Hulu’s movie 11/22/63, an adaptation of a Stephen King novel while Crackle is producing a sequel to Joe Dirt staring David Spade.
Many companies focused on the growth in consumption. People are consuming more and more content with video being the main time waster, I mean type of content being consumed :). Defy Media focused on the growth of their video platform which now exceeds 500 million video views a month. They also discussed how their growing partnership with influencers such as Smosh. YouTube also announced a Smosh movie coming in 2015, showing just how popular that group has become.
However at the end of the day the surprise winner of the Newfronts may have been Jerry Seinfeld. Hulu purchased the rights to all of the original Seinfeld episodes for around $130 million and Crackle renewed Seinfeld’s original Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee for another season and continues to feature it as one of their tent-poll programs. Looks like an old dog can learn new tricks!
As usual advertisers are left with the idea that digital is growing and kicking TV's ass and if we aren't doing something custom, mobile first and cutting edge then we're just behind the times. While that's necessarily untrue, I'm not sure this year's Newfronts told us anything we didn't already know or convinced me that someone has a product that truly beats the competition.