Somewhat lost in the publicity surrounding this year’s television upfronts was the fact that this year was the first year of the digital “NewFronts,” in which many top digital content publishers, like YouTube and Hulu, held a two week event atte
mpting to show advertisers and agencies that by generating original content they can generate the similar supply and demand, and by extension ad dollars, as TV.
The question right off the top is, will it work? It’s not for a lack of trying. YouTube has reportedly invested $100M in original programming while Hulu has nine original digital programs. But will people turn to digital to watch original digital programming?
It will certainly be a tough nut to crack, with people’s years of habits hard to break and with traditional broadcast TV incorporating many digital and social elements into their programming, giving people more access to network programming than ever before.
But one would think there is room for successful original digital programming. Think of it much like cable TV, with smaller niche shows generating great buzz and loyal fan bases. Certainly there is the opportunity to carve out a place of their own, but will the ad dollars follow?