The IAB Newfronts were in full swing last week with a few new players on the scene, including the striking Writers Guild Association contingent that blocked the entrance to the Paramount show. The presentations featured new tech and video announcements, high-profile celebrity appearances and musical performances.

Competition for Video dollars is hot.

The primary focus was on Video, with every major partner vying for what were once TV advertising dollars. Players in Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST), Smart-TV makers like LG and Samsung, and premium video publishers all boasted various measures of viewership growth. CTV has become the go-to way to regularly reach viewers, offering precise audience targeting, measurement and scale. Digital video spend will only continue to increase – most advertisers agree that CTV spending is necessary (67%), while only 38% said the same for Linear TV. Original content was still core to presentations, but with partners like Vizio, Samsung, Meta and TikTok, the discussion was equally focused on enabling great content creation.

Measuring business outcomes, not media metrics.

Conversations around measurement and defining success were also front and center. There’s been a shift across the industry from looking at CPMs and Impressions as indicators of media effectiveness, to looking at business outcomes. Brands are being held increasingly accountable for their marketing decisions, and every partner was out to prove they had the right solution to help. Innovid, for example, announced a partnership with Disney on a new measurement solution that will link ad exposures to outcomes like website visits and app downloads.  However, the more important questions around measurement consistency across the ecosystem weren’t necessarily addressed.

Increased multicultural and inclusive programming.

Revry made history as the first LGBTQ+ owned and led company to present at the Newfronts, unveiling an array of new programming including Culture Q, a pop culture news show, Season 2 of Drag Latina, and QueerX Awards, among others. Spanish networks LATN, Estrella and Canela joined the Newfronts for the first time to answer for the lack of content catering to Hispanic audiences in the marketplace. LATN showcased a suite of original content including shows around Latino culture, Queer Latinos and Afro Latino pride. Canela unveiled Canela Connect, an audience data solution that helps brands identify Hispanic audiences on English and Spanish language streaming platforms via connections with Roku, Samsung, Vizio, FreeTV and more.

Of course, AI.

In an incredibly ironic moment, the Writers’ Guild members marched outside of Peacock’s presentation in part to protest the studios’ reluctance to regulate AI-generated material, while inside the media executives hawked AI as the latest way to enhance ad deals. Roku announced a new AI-powered feature that scans programming to match campaigns with relevant scenes in shows and movies. Snap unveiled plans to include brand-sponsored posts within AI-powered chatbots, and Meta showcased AI tools to streamline creative production and serve more relevant content to users. Mentions of Virtual Reality and the Metaverse, areas in which Meta has poured huge resources, were mostly absent from the company’s presentation.