The Publicis-owned agency, formed when the holding company merged Digitas and LBi last February, was out in full force as a partner on AOL’s original content, Google Preferred and, at its own NewFront Thursday, as a partner to publishers and tech platforms.
One recurring theme of the event, called “Fearless,” was the convergence of digital, video and TV.
“We are already seeing evidence that the premium online video market is in fact at a tipping point,” said Tony Weisman, CEO of DigitasLBi North America. He referenced the Amazon and HBO partnership giving Amazon Prime members access to some HBO programming.
The content licensing deal looks like another nail in the coffin of traditional TV, as consumers continue to bypass standard cable subscriptions (even DISH is reportedly planning to debut an Internet TV service this summer). Weisman called it a “harbinger of the video-TV streaming market and the future of television.”
Weisman told an audience of media planners that “no one’s selling anything anything today," in contrast to the standard NewFront where platform companies preached “scarcity” to ignite a sense of urgency in buyers.
The agency also unveiled a partnership with BuzzFeed on branded content following a relationship that dates back two years – more evidence of blurred lines between publisher and agency-generated content.
The partnership, called BuzzFeed In-Residence, will bring publisher brand teams in-house for “rapid response” client work at DigitasLBi; Weisman noted the beta test will begin with two clients and will incorporate Digitas’s BrandLIVE war room. (This is reminiscent of Mindshare North America’s “The Loop,” an initiative that combines a physical space and collaborative software agreements for quick responses to client needs).
Additionally, the agency will work with creative production house Epic Digital to develop longform content, and subsequently measure the influx of that content through a NewFront Brand Content Index it rolled out with content measurement software company SimpleReach.
Although the platform is exclusive to DigitasLBi clients for the remainder of the year, it will be opened up for general release after that. Eddie Kim, SimpleReach’s CEO, said there are a “lack of tools to measure success” of content cross-platform. (The TV constituency claims the same).
The index pulls in anonymized metrics data from publishers and media companies like VICE, Time Inc., and The New York Times and allows a brand to benchmark content marketing performance (traffic from social, unique reach, etc.) against defined competitive sets like other brands or even trending media from a musical artist, for instance, that may compete with (or amplify) a message.
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