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YouTube’s annual Brandcast — a showcase attended by advertisers and other VIPs, during which the video giant typically unveils its latest company stats and breaking news — is the most recent casualty as social-distancing surrounding the coronavirus continues to mount.

YouTube will not host an in-person gathering, Variety reports, but will stream its much-anticipated Brandcast presentation — initially slated to take place on April 30 — exclusively on YouTube. It remains to be seen whether other companies presenting at this year’s NewFronts — the online video advertising marketplace where YouTube’s Brandcast typically serves as a centerpiece — will follow suit.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our customers, partners, and employees, and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO, and other relevant entities regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), YouTube has decided to shift Brandcast to a digital-first event to be premiered on YouTube,” a spokesperson told Variety.

The decision arrives as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) — which annually hosts the NewFronts and recently introduced an updated approach to this year’s conference — also released a statement today, writing that, “based on feedback from longtime NewFronts participants, we at IAB strongly recommend streaming-only productions for all presenters.” The organization added that it will work with partners to digitally protect their presentations so that only qualified attendees can log in — if presenters so choose — with additional options for presenters to augment their own guest lists or open up attendance to everybody.

That said, the NewFronts — to be held from April 27 to May 6 — will give participating presenters three options: a live, standalone presentation; a fully-streamed presentation (from an IAB production facility or not); or a combination of the two. Presenters will also be able to stream pre-produced, edited presentations on their own platforms, or on channels provided by the IAB.

The IAB notes that streaming the NewFronts will “permanently enhance” the annual marketplace by garnering bigger audiences and an on-demand consumption experience without the time or expense required to travel. And in conclusion, the IAB says that streaming this year’s event will transform the NewFronts “into the 21st century media and brand marketplace they were meant to be — a benefit that will last long after COVID-19 is relegated to the history books.”


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