The Ellen Digital Network touted the star power it can attract at its first NewFronts presentation this evening in New York.
New this year is a partnership with actress, singer and author Lea Michele, who will appear in a digital series called Well, Well, Well With Lea Michele in which she gives health and wellness tips.
“We lead with comedy, we lead with authenticity and we always, always, always talk about kindness,” Michael Riley, gm, Ellen Digital Ventures, told Adweek ahead of the presentation. “And when we think about our digital studio and how we continue to accelerate all of our content, we want to make sure it fits those brand pillars and matches what Ellen has done such a great job living over the last 16 years.”
Ellen DeGeneres’ digital network, or EDN, returned to the NewFronts lineup after joining the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s event for the first time at the organization’s first NewFronts West at which it teased new programming with Ashley Graham and Ayesha Curry.
Graham’s series, Fearless With Ashley Graham, will return for a second season, executives said today. Curry’s series will showcase motherhood and navigating a career.
EDN’s participation in NewFronts is another step toward legitimizing the massive digital network it has worked to scale up after launching in 2016 as a way to extend DeGeneres’ talk show, which debuted in 2003.
The network boasts more than 257 million followers and visitors and 1 billion monthly views across all platforms. That reach, the network’s strong connection with its audience and the opportunity for brands, was on display onstage Wednesday.
“It’s this really powerful ecosystem that we can partner and bring brands and advertisers in to,” Alana Calderone Polcsa, svp, brand content and partnerships for Warner Bros. Entertainment, told Adweek ahead of the presentation. “This world of original content and creation customized for brands and to have a place to distribute it … There are few publishers that has both and have this super powerful ecosystem.”
The network provided a glimpse at what some of those partnerships could include. Take a series like Do Good Daniels, which follows a family that’s committed to giving back. Cheerios gave the Daniels family $500,000 as a gift during their first appearance on DeGeneres’ show and subsequently gave them $500,000 more to pay it forward to another family.
Buyers gathered around the stage at the space rented out near Union Square as they munched on appetizers—like “little big macs” (sliders) and sipped on drinks—like speciality cocktail “momma’s thirsty,” a mixture of vodka, pomegranate juice and red pop rocks served in a special “world’s okayest mom” mug, a nod to EDN’s partnership with Kristen Bell, whose digital series was renewed for another season.
Among other new shows will be a project with former monk Jay Shetty, who will give life advice in a new digital series; OMKalen, featuring commentary from Kalen Allen; a second season of The Build Up featuring the Cousins giving back to communities; and a second season of Life’s First Evers with Jeannie, who showcases unique moments to fans of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in partnership with Dove Ice Cream.
The room this evening was directed with integrations that tied back to this new programming, including a candy and ice cream bar tied to Kalen, an actual bar associated with Bell and a Fearless-themed photoshoot after Graham’s series.
“We’re excited about the stories we’re telling, and we know that Ellen’s brand is a really important brand and continues to resonate on a global level,” Riley said.