A year after making its NewFronts debut, Time Warner Cable Media brought along some friends—well, more like frenemies—for its second go-round.
At the Edison Ballroom in New York, Time Warner Cable Media hosted several leading cable companies—Comcast Spotlight, Cox Media, Cablevision Media Sales and NCC Media, which sells local and national advertising time across all the pay TV providers in a given market—for a presentation called Epic Connections during which execs discussed how the cable industry is driving digital innovation.
Panel discussions and speeches focused on a common theme: working together with advertisers as data and new platforms redefine the industry.
"You just got to give us a shot—that's why we're here. We want to do business," said Comcast Media 360 svp Kevin Smith, who also noted that cable brings digital and television together. That relationship has strengthened with recent innovations like TV Everywhere and dynamic ad insertions.
Smith said the "Epic" moniker was chosen because it means "vast in scale," as well as "a classic story," which refers to the "premiere content" cable offers. "Nothing engages digital viewers like cable content," he said, adding that the industry will invent more than $30 billion in original programming this year.
Each cable company highlighted its specific innovations over the last year. After launching creative agency Kernel a year ago, Time Warner Cable Media has launched Kernel Studios to create its own branded content. Cablevision talked about Total Audience Application (TAPP), announced yesterday, which automates the planning of addressable and optimized linear television advertising campaigns.
The cable companies also previewed how an influx of VOD content is providing new opportunities for advertisers. When the USA comedy Playing House returns in August, episodes will debut on VOD a week before airing on the network. In a video, the comedy's two stars, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, talked about all of the integration possibilities with their VOD partners. "Our show is going to be an advertiser's wet dream," one of them said, joking that the season finale will center around three big words: "consumer packaged goods."
Friday's NewFronts presentation wasn't the first time some of these cable giants have joined forces. Time Warner Cable Media and Cablevision Media Sales have teamed up to provide quarterly New York Audience Insights reports on how New York's 3.5 million cable TV households spend their time and watch networks. "It's a symbol of where things are going," said Cablevision Media Sales president Ben Tatta.
"At the end of the day," said Time Warner Cable Media COO and evp Joan Gillman, "we try to make it easier to do business in this industry."