Roku Axes Its Live NewFronts Presentation

More companies are bowing out of their live presentations at NewFronts. Roku, the connected TV player and platform that is slated to present at the NewFronts for the first time this spring, has opted to cancel its in-person event and will instead stream its presentation, the company announced today.

“Roku has made the decision to move away from a live, in-person event and instead will produce a streaming-only presentation for NewFronts,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “As we enter the streaming decade, we think we can achieve strong results through a digital presentation and look forward to presenting to the industry. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.”

Roku is the fourth NewFronts presenter to switch to a streamed presentation. Digitas announced it would switch to a virtual presentation this morning, and YouTube, Twitter and Meredith Corp. all canceled their live NewFronts panels on Wednesday. The Walmart-owned streamer Vudu, meanwhile, opted to cancel its NewFronts plans entirely, Adweek previously reported.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which hosts the event, on Wednesday said it would allow and, in fact, encourage companies to stream their presentations instead of holding live events. That announcement prompted companies to begin reevaluating their NewFronts plans almost immediately.

The move also comes as concerns over coronavirus continue to disrupt the advertising industry, with live events being canceled or rescheduled left and right amid growing concerns.

It also comes as the city of New York, where the NewFronts have been held since their inception, is in the midst of heightening restrictions amid the spread of the virus. This afternoon, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state is banning public gatherings of 500 or more people out of concern about the virus’ transmission.

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