Yahoo’s version of an upfront was all about television stars and television money.
The Internet company took its turn during NewFront week on Monday night, holding an event at the Best Buy Theater off Broadway, a venue where ESPN has been breaking into the broadcasters’ upfront week for several years.
During a lengthy presentation, Yahoo rolled the TV stars who are creating and acting in its original content: John Stamos, Cheryl Hines, John Stamos, Zack Levi, John Stamos, Ed Helms, John Stamos, Morgan Spurlock and John Stamos. (The star of Losing Your Virginity, John Stamos, seemed to come up a lot during the presentation.) Yahoo also discussed content partnerships it has with the broadcast networks it is looking to steal ad dollars from: ABC News, CBS Television Distribution (The Insider) and NBC (CNBC).
The pitch for TV’s ad dollars came from COO Henrique De Castro, who said that the future belongs to a combination of technology and content. He offered the “shocking” perspective that TV is still the main medium for consumers, but added that TV has lost a lot of its traditional reach as choices have multiplied and the second screen has become the first screen.
“TV plus digital is the new media mix,” De Castro said, claiming that digital can extend the reach of a marketer’s ad campaign. Reach alone is not enough-you need engagement, he added, and Yahoo’s new “native” advertising streams make users less likely to “distinguish between content and advertising.”
Tuesday morning, De Castro said, the buyers should pick a brand and decide to move 5% to 10% of its ad budget from TV to Yahoo. That should create the best return on investment, he said. “If not, I don’t want your money.”
That’s either a guarantee or confidence talking. Either way, broadcasters should be on guard to the challenge the NewFront presents to those who’ve been living off the upfront.