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Yahoo NewFront Offers Music, Comedy, and Cars for Young Adults

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Yahoo kicked off the 2015 newfront season Monday night by announcing a slate of new content aimed at young adult viewers. While that's standard for newfronts—after all, young people watch more online video and are more coveted by advertisers—Yahoo seemed especially interested in capturing the hearts of a younger demographic. Key announcements included Ultimate DJ, a live electronic music competition executive produced by Simon Cowell, Patrick Moxey, and Hamish Hamilton; an expansion of Yahoo's live concert series with partner Live Nation which will stream five outdoor festivals in the next year; a style series called I Am Naomi hosted by Naomi Campbell; and a car show called Riding Shotgun With Michelle Rodriguez.

Yahoo announced 14 new video series, bringing the number of original series in its digital magazine channels to 47. Besides Campbell and Rodriguez's shows, the site will offer Thug Kitchen which promises an "edgy take on healthy eating" for millennials, and YourTech, which will follow people as they live with wearable technology. The newfront gave heavy attention to The Pursuit, an upcoming comedy series called "an edgier, 21st century take on Friends," but didn't have clips to show. During the event, Cowell, Campbell, Rodriguez, Katie Couric, DJ Steve Aoki, and Joel McHale—the star of Community, which was picked up by Yahoo—dropped by to add star power. McHale got all the best lines. "Yahoo is finally going to buy another vowel for Tumblr," he noted.

Since a newfront's purpose is to appeal to advertisers, executives said that Yahoo video now delivers 7.3 billion streams per month with a 1.5 percent click-through rate. An episode of Community with over-the-top product placement for Honda resulted in a 4x lift in brand favorability, Yahoo said. The audience also heard about Yahoo's November 2014 acquisition of BrightRoll, and how it can offer programmatic buying at scale. Thanks to a new partnership with Millward Brown Digital, Yahoo is offering brand impact measurements for campaigns run across its properties.

"When are you going to announce the Community movie?" McHale demanded. Not this time, but maybe at next year's newfront if it appeals to millennials.


Executive producers Hamish Hamilton, Patrick Moxey, and Simon Cowell talk to Yahoo CMO and head of media Kathy Savitt about their upcoming competition show Ultimate DJ.

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