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Digital NewFronts: Microsoft makes Xbox movies and Yahoo plans to travel




DCNF_logo_square_2014“We’re at a critical moment for video consumption.” @marissamayer #Newfronts pic.twitter.com/vDXiP9Doa0

“People spend more time looking at their phone screen than their TV screen, and that’s what we’re excited about” -@peretti. #NewFronts

Levin: everything we create will be smart, creative, disruptive. We’re already a content company (ref to games) #newfronts

It’s time for the 2014 Digital NewFronts in New York City. Based on the TV UpFronts, where the networks whoo advertisers with delicious teases about their upcoming season, the digital NewFronts are all about selling advertising online.

Yesterday, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Microsoft and Yahoo took the stage with their presentations giving us all a peek into the future of online – here’s a hint “video” and ads that look like content.

If you had a nickel for every time video was mentioned on stage, you could buy an island, retire and build a rocket to moon.

The New York Times is investing in a video hub with 14 channels and more than 30 original shows. Some shows are news oriented while others are lifestyle channels. They’re selling pre-roll ads on everything, video sponsorships and branded playlists – all “clearly” marked as advertising. They’re also looking to push their content out to TV viewers via a set-top box like Roku or a cable deal.

Buzzfeed is taking an entirely new path to greatness. . . no wait, they’re actually ramping up video. The only difference is, their going more for the quirky appeal, like this video that shows how much time you have left on this Earth as represented by jellybeans. (?)

Microsoft says they’re planning to expand their (fill in the blank) department. They’re created a series of movies called Xbox Originals that will only air on Microsoft products.  Since that covers a lot of territory, it’s a great way for advertisers to go multi-screen with a single campaign.

Yahoo is also talking about video but in a very different way. Partnering with Live Nation, Yahoo will air one live concert, everyday, 365 days a year. Really. That’s what they said. Yahoo Live will also present the global premieres of Spiderman 2Mockingjay – Part 1 and X-men Days of Future Past.

The only non-video announcement in the bunch is Yahoo’s new Travel channel. This is one of their digital magazines that combines advertising and features in one slick interface.

Yahoo Travel

Note that the first box is a promoted feature from Disney Parks. Like what you see? Simply scroll to the top of the page and you can book a hotel, flight or rental car without leaving the channel. Wow. That’s smart content marketing.

Glam Media, CNE and AOL are up next and I’ll have more from the NewFronts tomorrow.