NewFronts 2016: Annual Blitz Kicks Off With Vox-Google News

Bankoff announces Google tie-in, IAB plugs growth of online video

The 9th annual NewFronts – featuring presentations by 39 brands during the next two weeks across New York City – kicked off with a MediaLink breakfast that served as the calm before the storm, favoring conversation over pitches.

Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media (parent of sites such as SB Nation and The Verge), used his breakfast keynote slot to announce an extension of the company's month-old venture called Concert, which involves NBCU and Vox sharing ads across their respective sites. (NBCU is an investor in Vox.) Google has partnered with the companies to enable Concert with its programmatic buying infrastructure.

"It's the first time that Google is making their proprietary units available" to a broad swath of advertisers on a programmatic basis, Bankoff told MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan.

Frequently during their discussion, he touched on the need for digital content companies to raise their ad game and not just think of it as an add-on. "Advertising itself is a product," he said. The plague of ad blocking is the best example of that, he pointed out.