Making it Count in Cannes

Since returning from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the stellar opportunities afforded by this truly unique global event. After all, Cannes Lions doesn’t just play host to the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals but also to 15,000 marketing and media executives— a collective intersection of advertising, entertainment, media, and technology unlike any other. South of France setting aside, is there a better venue for our global teams to bring industry leaders together to strategically drive the industry forward?

OUR PRESENCE – A Place to Connect

Comcast Cable recently unified its television distribution, sales and advertising technology products and solutions under one organization. There are now two divisions of Comcast Cable Advertising: Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, and Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group, that brings together the people, assets, and capabilities of Strata, FreeWheel, and Visible World. Cannes provided the perfect opportunity to bring the Advanced Advertising Group together in a venue on the beach proudly under the Comcast banner to foster connections with clients, prospects, partners, and peers.  There, our teams collectively conducted well over one hundred meetings and hosted more than five hundred Cannes attendees during the course of the week for thought leadership sessions, content presentations, networking and entertainment events.


A special presentation from the Comcast stage made by Marcien Jenckes, President, Advertising, Comcast Cable and Jon Heller, FreeWheel Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Comcast Advanced Advertising, revealed a market-leading initiative to develop a new technology platform, the Blockchain Insights Platform, aimed at improving the efficiency of premium video advertising, resulting in better planning, targeting, execution, and measurement across screens.

Left to Right: Jon Heller and Marcien Jenckes

We were also proud to host A-List industry executives discussing the current state of The New TV Ecosystem, where it needs to go, and how the impact of technology will shape it in the years to come on our beach-side stage. The FreeWheel Leadership Forum, in partnership with Beet.TV, brought together senior executives from Comcast, NBCUniversal, Fox Networks, ESPN, OMD, Dentsu Aegis,Magna, Publicis Media Exchange, and MediaLink. Panelists tackled the importance of ad experience, the changing dynamics of brand safety, the evolution of programmatic models, and the meteoric growth of over-the-top (OTT) devices. Watch Beet.TV clips from our venerated panelists and other industry luminaries at Cannes.

From Top Left: Ben Winkler, Linda Yaccarino, Michael Kassan, Marcien Jenckes, Matt Spiegel, Dave Penski, Lucas Cridland, David Cohen, Matt Spiegel, Joe Marchese, Jack Rotherham, Jon Heller, Eric Johnson

Hervé Brunet, General Manager, FreeWheel Markets, brought together influencers from Adobe Advertising Cloud, The Trade Desk, and Turn to discuss emerging technologies that bridge the gap between premium video and programmatic demand.

Left to Right: Hervé Brunet, Lauren Nemeth, Tim Sims and Christopher Bell

We were pleased to announce the launch of the expansion of the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video to include thirteen European clients and partners. To commemorate the launch, the FreeWheel Council Europe (FWCE) sponsored a panel session in partnership with The Drum in which esteemed leaders from Sky Media, TF1 Publicité, Havas, and Halfords Media (PokerStars) joined us to discuss the new age of video content consumption, changing viewer habits, and rapid technological developments. See The Drum’s recap of this lively conversation.

Left to Right: Justin Pearse, Hossein Houssaini, Elise Dupaty, Philippe Boscher, and Jamie West


Cannes also served as the perfect venue to share our unrivaled insights on the premium video economy. Ying Wang, Director, Advisory Services, and Miruna Dogaru, Lead, Advisory Services, took the Comcast stage to provide an in-depth look at the trends shaping the industry from the FreeWheel Video Monetization Report: Q1 2017 as well as a preview of new analyses arriving in July that focus on the rising tide of OTT.

Following up on his recent post outlining opportunities in Advanced TV, Brian Wallach, SVP/CRO, Advanced TV, FreeWheel Markets, shared an exploration of how robust industry innovation is shaping the future of television and creating tremendous opportunity for the buyer and seller ecosystem.

Left to Right: Ying Wang, Miruna Dogaru, and Brian Wallach


To keep pace with the rapid changes impacting the new TV ecosystem and lead it forward, it’s important to take advantage of the defining moments that drive learning, inspiration, partnerships, and connection. And now that we have aligned with Comcast Spotlight and Comcast’s Advanced Advertising Group into one organization, our teams will be in an even better position to bring some of the industry’s most advanced technologies to all of our advertising customers. We are already building on the many dialogues created and advanced in Cannes. In short, we made it count and I am grateful to our partners, peers, and prospects who joined us in Cannes and especially to our International Marketing team who created the perfect setting for our presence, our thought leadership, and the many insights that followed.

We’re already looking ahead to the next big industry event on our calendar, DMEXCO in Cologne, Germany in September. We hope to see you there– and making it count.