Condé Nast’s NewFronts pitch: We’re so premium

Condé Nast jumped headfirst into video last year in a big way, launching 11 channels and 70-plus series across its brands as it put its new entertainment division to work creating content off its famous magazine brands like Vanity Fair and GQ. Now, it’s focusing on getting more distribution for its content. At its second NewFronts presentation, it explained how.

The pitch
For its second act, the publisher is adding three more branded channels — Bon Appétit, Lucky and The New Yorker — expanding its production to 100 series and widening its distribution to more platforms and devices. The big reveal this year was the introduction of The Scene, a new hub for premium video that, come July, will be home to Condé Nast’s content as well as those of partners including the Weather Channel, ABC News and, somewhat surprisingly, BuzzFeed and comedy site Jash. No longer will users be forced to wade through the YouTube morass of user-generated dreck to find high-quality video.

Prospects for success
Condé Nast video is already available on its own brand sites and more than 25 platforms including Yahoo, Roku and YouTube. But to cover the high production cost of its video, it needed wider distribution for advertisers, and the creation of new hub The Scene is a big step in that direction. Condé Nast didn’t introduce any new ad units at today’s presentation, but did tout its reach with “influential millennials,” which, according to the publisher, watch eight videos per person, spending 35 minutes per viewing session and with ad completion rates of up to 80 percent.

The scene
This being Condé Nast, the presentation was long on pizzazz — attendees at the 583 Park Ave. affair were treated to a visually sumptuous if ear-splitting display of the new and continuing series and an afterparty with “NewFronts survival kit” goodie bags. Interestingly, the company didn’t trot out any of its famous editors to plug its series, instead letting the content speak of itself (though entertainment head Dawn Ostroff did give them a nod at the end of the presentation).

Notable quote
“We’re the insurgent in the video marketplace. We’re the bet to make this year.” — Lisa Valentino, chief revenue officer, Condé Nast Entertainment

Buyer reaction
“They’re much more partnership-oriented,” said Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation, Starcom. “It should give them more ability to let them get their content discovered so it can grow over time. The Scene is an effort in that area.”

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