“Our Millennial audience expects a certain quality,” said CNE president Dawn Ostroff at the company’s NewFronts, held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York.
During the hourlong presentation, the entertainment arm of Condé Nast revealed a slate of incubator programs with filmmaker Jon Avnet, a distribution partnership with Comcast and a deal with Simple Reach to establish data measurement for branded video content for advertising partners.
Ostroff said internal data provided by partner Data1010 suggest that younger Condé content consumers are “cultured Millennials.”
“Or as we like to say, they’re the ones with jobs,” she offered glibly. Ostroff expounded on that, noting that the female consumer is more “Mexico meets Tulum and not Cancún” whereas for the male Millennial, “drinks with friends involves craft beer and not a keg.” She didn’t provide quantitative analysis, but the point was received — they are the upscale Millennials.
If the colorful descriptions didn’t pique the interest of potential advertising partners in the room, then perhaps the sleek sizzle reel that depicted stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, Kendall Jenner, Steph Curry and Taylor Swift did.
“No one has access like Condé Nast,” she said, noting that the company “creates” the events to which the stars flock. Perhaps she was referring to the previous night’s Costume Institute gala, which drew Schumer, Jenner and Swift — but not Lawrence or Curry.
Marking its fourth NewFronts presentation, CNE has released the latest iteration of its digital video platform, dubbed “The Scene” as a mobile-first offering. The Scene, which carries programming of 17 partners and 21 Condé Nast brands, has generally been hard to locate, but now it has its own mobile app available in the iTunes app store. Ostroff said The Scene has added new content partners, the NBA and CNN’s Great Big Story. The Scene will also be distributed across more than 50 platforms via a partnership with Comcast.
Also on the editorial front, Ostroff said the company has introduced three incubator programs meant to support the next generation of digital video storytellers. The first two incubators, which were previously launched, are in partnership with Indigenous Media and filmmakers Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia and Jake Avnet. The first is called “Project: Her,” which focuses on female filmmakers and their mentors. It will include Lesli Linka Gatter (“Homeland”) and Sara Treem (“The Leftovers”), among others, and it will follow their journeys through social videos with the finished product premiering on CNE’s digital video network.
The second project, “Big Script,” is also in partnership with Indigenous Media and “Hunger Games” actor Josh Hutcherson, who will cull through Hollywood scripts and scale them into short films, which will be available on CNE. The final project, “Creators in Residence,” helps Millennial filmmakers develop and produce their content. A comedy series, “That’s What She Said,” is already in the works.
On the virtual reality front, CNE will premiere its scripted series “Invisible,” which is directed by Douglas Lipman, in September.
CNE is gearing up to release its second feature film, “Army of One,” starring Nicholas Cage, later this year, following its first feature-length documentary “First Monday in May.” A third feature film, “Granite Mountain,” starring Josh Brolin and Miles Teller, is in development.
On the branded content front, CNE inked a deal with Simple Reach, a dashboard that will provide partners a lens into branded content video performance across every distribution outlet, which will launch in the fall.
Lisa Valentino, CNE’s chief revenue officer and senior vice president of network sales for Condé Nast spoke to the native advertising side of the company. She noted that the firm has completed more than 700 campaigns to date. She then highlighted the work of 23 Stories, its in-house native unit, offering that editors would help “curate” content anchored in video.
“When you pair data with great storytelling and use it to tell yours, the results are incredible,” she said. “When CNE first launched its digital video network in 2013, we were pioneers in the space. Since then our digital video has grown up and our audiences have growth up with it.”