@ Media Summit: Yahoo CSO: Will Host Its First ‘Infront Before The Upfront’ Next Week

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What keeps Wenda Harris Millard, Yahoo’s chief sales officer, up at night? The fear that media buyers and sellers will define the digital ad space according to the rules of traditional advertising, with a particular focus setting up an upfront market. So to combat those night terrors, Millard said Yahoo will host its first “Infront” for marketers starting next week. “As traditional media companies bundle their digital assets, our industry will be reduced to prices,” she said, speaking on a Media Summit panel about The Future of Enhanced Advertising. “The digital industry will be commoditized even before its born.” The aim of the Infront is to start a dialogue among advertisers. Millard: “To be sure, this is not an upfront. This will give us a chance to define our industry, rather than be defined by traditional media.” During the Q&A portion of the panel discussion, I asked if she could elaborate as to why there shouldn’t be a digital version of the TV upfront. Millard’s reply: “The TV upfront is all about the scarcity of inventory, with two sides debating how scarce it is. The digital space, theoretically, has unlimited inventory. And with user-generated content, it’s not necessarily theoretical anymore. So there’s no false seasonality to digital. We’re doing new things all the time, as opposed to TV, which is still geared around the fall season for the most part. That’s one of the points we want to get across.” So is the Infront purely educational? “Well, I won’t lie and say we won’t do any marketing. I’ll probably wear a Yahoo sign on my back in case they miss the message.”

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