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3 trends from this year’s NewFronts

Over the past week, various companies have presented new digital video services, features, or content at the IAB NewFronts. Here are three major trends we’ve been tracking from this week’s presentations.

Ad-supported platforms are getting into exclusive and original content for the first time. As the streaming market grows even more crowded, two more streamers—and one social platform—have dipped their toes into exclusive content as a way to stand out.

  • Roku unveiled its first real slate of original content during its presentation. This move wasn’t wholly unexpected, however, given the company bought the exclusive rights to Quibi’s original shows back in January and rebranded them all to “Roku Originals” last month.
  • Tubi is a more surprising entrant to original content—founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi said in 2019 that Tubi would never produce originals. But after Fox acquired the platform in 2020, those plans appear to have changed. However, Tubi does plan to keep its other key promise of remaining fully ad-supported, to the benefit of marketers.
  • Twitter won’t be producing its own originals just yet, but it will tap into the trend, signing deals with the NBA, WNBA, and NHL for exclusive live sports content and NBCUniversal for exclusive news broadcasts.

Say hello to shoppable shows. Shoppable TV advertising has been buzzy for a while, and this year’s NewFronts saw some serious movement on the trend.

  • Amazon announced that it’s beta testing ads that will let viewers make direct purchases on IMDb TV, either through their Alexa or their Fire TV remote. Shoppable video ads aren’t new, but what’s exciting about Amazon’s announcement is that the ads are coming to the biggest screen in the house via Amazon Fire TVs.
  • Condé Nast unveiled its Condé Nast Shoppable product and three new shoppable shows centered on beauty and fashion. Unlike Amazon’s shoppable video ads, Condé Nast is focusing on shoppable series, blending content and commerce.

Creators take center stage for short-form video platforms. Just as streaming services are leaning on exclusive content for differentiation, social short-form video platforms are leaning on creators.

  • Snapchat announced a new creator marketplace. For now, the marketplace will host a group of augmented reality lens-makers who will be available to work with interested brands, but it will open up to all types of creators (including influencers) later this year. It also announced several new influencer-led shows coming to Snap Originals.
  • TikTok, meanwhile, has had a creator marketplace since last year. This year, it focused on ramping up advertiser awareness of how to leverage its wide base of creators, highlighting user-driven trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, a hashtag where people show off new purchases that were influenced by other users on the platform.