In NewFront Presentation, BBC Introduces Itself to Ad Community

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The BBC held its first newfront presentation today, with the broadcaster explaining why it's a good fit for U.S. advertisers.

The newfront season is a two-week period in New York City modeled on television upfronts, where premium online video publishers show their upcoming lineups to advertisers to drive enthusiasm and get ad commitments. This was the first time the BBC held a newfront, and it chose to spend most of the time introducing itself  to the NYC ad community.

In a world of shrinking reporting budgets and fake news, the BBC employs 9,000 journalists, said Francesca Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service Group, with 4,000 of those working overseas. It offers 30 language services and will soon grow that to 40.

"We can draw on all that expertise and all those people on the ground," Unsworth said, adding that the BBC isn't interested in communicating the personal views of its hosts. "What we can offer is a perspective that covers the world, but of relevance to the U.S. audience."

BBC presenters emphasized brand safety, a frequent topic this year. In February, the Times of London exposed that YouTube was pairing major brand ads with videos created by hate sites. That lead many advertisers to leave YouTube and question the safety of online video advertising. BBC presenters also repeatedly used the phrase "affluent millennials" when describing their online audience, although they never mentioned the average viewer age.

In the coming year, the BBC's online team will create a feature called Future You about the intersection of health and technology. This will include creating an app that provides users with customized health data. Another feature called D:Signed will look at luxury living, showing how technology can improve art and architecture. Other special features will include the fifth annual installment of the BBC's 100 Women series and a cross-platform look at the Premier League's 25th anniversary.

While the BBC would like to work with advertisers on branded components, the same editorial standards apply to advertising content as editorial, stressed Richard Pattinson, global head of BBC StoryWorks. adding that brands advertising on BBC sites are viewed as more desirable than those advertising on other sites. "The BBC audience is upscale," he said, describing them again as affluent millennials.

BBC America anchor Katty Kay and Francesca Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service Group

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